Knitting Cramp

Hellu Everyone!

I hope you are all enjoying the last week here in August. I realized that I missed a couple of things in my last post. Firstly, I missed my blog anniversary! I have officially been blogging for a year now! I have to say it’s hard to believe. A big thanks to those of you who have been with me since I started! I was also awarded The Beautiful Blogger Award by Karen at The Sweaty Knitter. She posts some of the most fascinating historical tidbits about fiber crafts and shares about her charming Norwegian heritage. You never know what you’ll learn when you stop in for a visit! Thank you Karen for your nomination!

In the course of the past year, many things have happened in my life. My beloved cat Mina has developed a taste for fabric.

A pair of my pajama pants is the latest victim. We are now up to 3 tank tops, 2 bras, 2 shirts, a dress, and the pants.

I have made friends living far from me ranging from the edges of my own country  (ie: Florida & California) to other countries all together (ie: England & New Zealand)! It is wonderful to get to know people who live in other parts in the world, hearing about their lives and local cultures. If only we could meet in person for a cuppa to knit and share stories!

I started doing yoga. I’ll admit I don’t do it as often as I should, but I thoroughly enjoy every session! My joints don’t enjoy impact exercises like jogging, but my muscles sure do love a good stretch. A yoga session seems to work well for my over-active brain as well. Any one else out there a yoga lover?

Our local studio.

And I learned to knit! My fiber world has grown exponentially now that I know how to knit. You all remember my very first knit project in my second post? A sad, wonky washcloth. I’ve since knit several things and here’s the updated picture of my very first sock!

I got my first knitting cramp this past weekend turning the heel on that crazy thing. I will say once and for all, wool is certainly my favorite thing to knit with. This sock yarn is a microfiber material and there is very little give to it, hence the tension. I’ll admit that I spent so many hours working on this over the weekend that I simply had to say, “No more knitting.” I took a break from my sock, decided to leave my arm warmer in the bag, and start a crochet project! I told Cassie I would make her a hat like the one I made Sara Lynn last winter and she could choose the colors. This was the perfect time to begin her hat.

Ahh. Soft, squishy worsted weight yarn, my default crochet hook, and swift, simple crochet movements. I do love crochet 🙂 The fact that I love this yarn brand and I love this pattern also help!

I truly believe in the healing powers of switching projects periodically. My sock may sit for a while longer, but as soon as this hat is done I’m sure my arm warmer won’t be too far behind! The yarn for that project is much nicer to work with while knitting. The more I knit, the more I understand yarn snobbery. Synthetics tend to cause tension and cramps! Crochet doesn’t seem to be as bad. Any one else have those kinds of revelations or am I just overly sensitive to silly things?

I wish you all a wonderful week and I will see you in September!

~Lacey & Mina

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Wrapping up Summer

Sorry I missed you all last week, but as my title suggests I have been busy wrapping up summertime. The school year begins this week for some and next week for most others. The time for summer fun is  coming to a close and my non-work days have been busy with things such as Family Fun Day with our church, nights as the drive-in theater while it’s still open, and bonfires with our youth group since they won’t have as much free time with school in session.

Our Family Fun Day is like a small carnival we put on for the community every summer, everything is free. We rent big inflatables for the kids: a giant slide, an obstacle course, a gladiator arena, and something called a bungee run.

Here is the gladiator arena. New and very popular this year! The two players stand on pedestals and try to know each other off.

Food is also available to everyone: hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy, and snow cones. I worked the popcorn stand for a while and seeing as it was already a 90 degree day, it got quite warm when the popcorn cooked! Luckily I was next to the snow cone machine so that helped to balance things out a bit when I didn’t have to man the popcorn.

Donna and Keith always man the grill for the hot dogs. Kudos to them for bearing the intense heat of day along with the heat radiating off of the grill. This is the delightful couple who housed Bryon and I when I power was out for that week in July due to storms.

Due to the heat, we always ask the local firestation to stop by for a short span of time to hose down anyone wanting the relief of water. It’s always a big hit for the kids to have the big firetruck come in.

The last of the kids cooling off. Many others had already run off to give wet, squishy hugs to their parents.

It’s always a great time 🙂 Another summer favorite is going to the drive-in. When Bryon and I dated, we went nearly every weekend. We didn’t get to go at all last summer and it was very depressing. This year we were determined to go and we couldn’t have picked a better night to go. The weather was absolutely perfect and we got there early enough that we had a fairly good parking spot. There aren’t many drive-ins left in Ohio so we are very fortunate to have one in our hometown! Two movies show back to back and it’s only $7 for an adult ticket.

Waiting for the sky to darken enough for the movie to start.

We went to the drive-in also as sort celebration for us. Sunday August 5 was an exact 5 year anniversary for the Sunday morning I first met the man I would marry. Who knew?

The bonfire we went to was at the same house as always, so I got to see Eric’s laying chickens again. Remember that little spotty hen I told you all about? Well, it has grown into a massive rooster! Surprise! I forgot to get a picture for you, but I will get one. He’s really quite impressive.

I had some quiet time by the fire where I was able to work on my WIPs, which have been coming along nicely! I’ve got a steadily growing pile of preemie hats for Lucy, I met all the goals I mentioned in my last post so my first glove is done and the second one is comng along nicely, and I have started my sock. I have been reminded that if I sit down and truly dedicate that time to knitting something in particular, things work up rather quickly. My second glove is already more than halfway done.

And my sock is waiting for me to start the heel.

I prefer shorter socks.

I’m excited to see how the sock turns out! Mina has returned to sleeping either on my lap or curled up next to me as I knit.

Don’t you just want to rub her fuzzy belly?

She really is a great little companion while I knit and Bryon sleeps (he’s still working the night shift). I hope you all have a wonderful week and hopefully I won’t miss next Monday’s post! Thank you all for stopping by to visit us 🙂

~Lacey and an ever sleepy Mina cat

Normal Life Has Resumed

Hello To You All!

Ah. My fridge is restocked, my house is clean, laundry is caught up on, and the storm is a far away memory. We’ve gotten a little bit of steady rain and the temperatures have dropped down a little to a more bearable level. In response, my hollyhock bushes have bloomed 🙂

I think the purple ones are my favorites.

When my sister and I were little, our mom taught us how to make little “dolls” out of the flowers and buds of hollyhock bushes. Every time I see those lovely flowers I think of her.

I did manage to get an impressive sunburn when out enjoying the weather. The swim suit lines are still quite distinct. Ouch!

Needless to say I’ll be glad when that mess has healed. One more result of the weather has been an interesting visitor that somehow managed its way into my house. Mina discovered this guy trying to crawl up through the grate into the house from the cellar.

I have NEVER seen a slug that big or with that kind of design around here before. It was a good 5 inches long at least from nose to tail. Buh!

Ok, enough of the weather. Yarn! Oh how I love my knitty escapes ^_^ During the bout living with Donna and Keith, I started a new project with the ball of yarn left over from the sequin scarf. I didn’t have much time to work on it when we returned home, but now that things have gone back to normal I’ve been able to work on it again.

I decided to try a cowl  and I’m liking it so far. It has a high enough wool content I’m going to try to give it a good blocking when it’s done to give it a better drape. I messed up the pattern a bit and my stitch pattern is going straight up and down instead of at a diagonal, but oh well! For my first cowl I’m content with it.

I’ve also started something new! My friend Lucy over at In The Sky has started a charity project collecting hats for premature babies to donate to the local hospital. Not only was it a great idea, I realized that almost all of my friends were born premature! I started my own little collection of preemie caps to send to her and her generous cause.

I have a bunch of “baby yarn” stashed away in a few different colors and this was the perfect opportunity to do something. They take only 10-15 minutes to whip up via crochet so I imagine my tiny pile will grow quickly and soon!

Despite my claim to be on a yarn diet, I couldn’t resist a couple of purchases when I earned a little extra money helping one of my friends clean this past week and I also received a mailer from Jo-Ann’s containing a ton of 50% off coupons. Can you blame me?

I’ve been wanting to buy some more of this ruffle yarn to create more scarves to sell! Not to mention I want to have a few more color options for Donna. The same dear lady that housed me for a while was the same one who suggested these scarves to me. When I made my first one, she absolutely adored it. I decided that once I had a few more colors I would give her whichever one she wanted. They work up relatively quickly so I hope I can give her one here soon.

I’ve also decided on what yarn I want to use when I start my socks. I’ve got such a bad case of startitis!


I’m going to finish my cowl before I start the socks or I’ll lose track of everything I’m trying to do. I’ve also been watching a couple of videos about how to do cabling. I’m so excited to give it a go! It looks much easier than I anticipated and I’ll be able to scratch another goal off of my list for this year 🙂 I’m waiting to start a cable project as well. I’m hoping it won’t have to wait too long!

I hope you all have a wonderful week full of achievement and happiness. Follow Mina’s example and keep cool and relax!

~Lacey & Mina

MY ELECTRICITY IS BACK!! HUZZAH!!

I hope you’ll pardon my long post. I must tell my story of the past few days on top of my now seemingly unimportant yarn accomplishment.

As I mentioned, my part of the county experienced a ridiculously harsh storm last Friday, June 29. I’ve seen some notable storms around here where flooding has occurred and I’ve seen the occasional tree down, but this has been the most damaging storm I’ve seen. It was like we had our own mini version of hurricane Debby up here in Ohio! The ride home from work was delayed due to the severity of the wind and rain. There were countless substantial limbs and/or whole trees were down by the time I arrived at home; I stopped counting once I hit fifty. My own street (one of the busiest streets in my city) looked like it had been torn to bits. My own house had major branches weighing down the power lines, but I doubt that was the only reason my electricity was out. The whole city was out of power! Ours was out for a 6 days, roughly 143 hours. Needless to say, food kept in refrigerators was all spoiled and everyone was trying desperately to keep themselves cool as we have been in the midst of an intense heat wave (95-105 degrees Fahrenheit).

My poor power lines being weighed down by that big old branch.

Debris was everywhere, power lines were flung willy-nilly, and homes and cars alike were the victims of fallen trees.  A whole tree tore up the sidewalk in front of my neighbor’s house and landed on their car and blocked the street.

A bulldozer eventually came to lift the tree off the poor car.

God bless Donna and Keith from our church as they housed Bryon and me while we waited for power to return to our house. Their little farm was quite homey! I got to spend some time petting the velvet noses of their horses.

Meet Remington & Montana!

The barn cats were always following us around.

The snuggly Domino

The ever fluffy Tiggy

And the lake was full of fish (and pond weed) to catch.

Can you see the little fish amidst the pond weed?

Bryon spent some time helping Keith clean up the storm mess around the property while I helped Donna around the house and in the kitchen. We enjoyed some fresh green beans from their garden as well as some of their yummy black berries!

Ok, I had to share that. Now for the much anticipated bit of yarny business! For those of you who have been following me for awhile know I made a list of goals for the year. One of my goals was to knit a proper sock. I had knit up a sock on a loom before, but I wasn’t impressed and it felt like cheating. I didn’t care if I only managed to get one lone sock done by the end, but if it was done following a pattern and on double points I would be happy. And you know what?

TAA-DAA!!!! I am so proud 😀 I won’t deceive you though. It’s a very tiny sock.

In my last order from The Loopy Ewe, they included a free treat: instructions and a teeny ball of red yarn; enough to make a single sock. I knit it a bit tight but I truly enjoyed the whole process. It’s wonderfully stretchy too, unlike my loom sock. It was also much easier than I expected and I’m excited to start a proper Lacey-sized sock! I have some yarn saved up for such an occasion and you bet you can expect to hear about me starting some real socks here soon!

Thanks for reading my ramblings and I hope to get back into my normal routine this weekend! There is much cleaning to be done in the kitchen (our fridge is not something I am looking forward ), piles of laundry to do, and a very happy Mina cat that needs extra cuddles.

Napping peacefully under her daddy’s blanket.

I want to extend an extra special thanks to those of you who sent your thoughts and prayers to my little part of the world. God bless!

~Lacey, Bryon, and Mina

Ok, So I’m a Little Late

Hellu Everyone!

Yeah, I know that in my last post I said I had some yarny bits to share with you on Sunday, but clearly things got away from me. I ended up having a Girls Night In on Sunday evening with Sara Lynn and Alethia (Cassie had to work). No yarny things took place, but there was a lot of tea and a lot of fun. I highly recommend the game Dutch Blitz to any and every one. It’s a bit hard to come by around here, for some obscure reason. It’s an extremely fun game to play so I can’t see why it’s not more readily available!

The weekend was wonderful in so many ways. To start it, the weather was wonderful!

The sky was clear, and it was in the mid 50’s. I was in jeans and a t-shirt once again 🙂 I love not having to wear a coat in the middle of January. I do love winter, but unexpected warm days are a bit of a treat. The windows were opened while I cooked and Mina was a happy cat. My cooking was another notable thing this weekend. By saying this I am not bragging. It is notable because I tried three new recipes this weekend, all of which were courtesy of chef Fabio Viviani on Chow Ciao from Yahoo Lifestyle. “Good simple food with and Italian twist” in 5-10 minutes. It’s excellent. The ricotta fritters and pancetta risotto disappeared too quickly to photograph. A note for you if you want to make the fritters: they are much better after cooling and being stored in the refrigerator!

They're a bit shapeless since they're covered in sauce. Each one is about the size of a pool/billiard ball.

These tasty creations were “The Perfect Italian Meatball”, or what is left of them. I have to admit that I have tried meatballs once before and it was an ugly, ugly thing. I was a bit hesitant to try these. I’m so glad that I did! My kitchen was a bit of a mess by the time I was done, but it was very much worth it. Even Bryon tried them, and he is one of those people who generally refuses to eat something if they contain certain ingredients (in this case, ricotta cheese). He ate two of them 🙂

Another thing that made the weekend wonderful was my crafty completions. I have had several nearly finished projects lying around and I finally put them to rest! Zippers were installed (Felted Notions pattern courtesy of Alice Best), a toe was sewn up, and I bought and added some pretty beads to add to the pull strings of the hat I finished a while back. Taa-Daa!

My sock fits everywhere but around the heel and toe. Go figure. The heel is a bit too snug and the toe is too big. I guess that is bound to happen on a sock loom since there is no way to increase or decrease, and the stitches are extremely tight by nature so there isn’t much stretch. I am pleased it is done, and I will by making a match to it, but I must now suck it up and try socks on double-points. My ankles are too funny-shaped to be content with loom socks. That is one of my goals for 2012. Knit a pair of socks on double points! The ability to knit socks is desperately appealing to me, so I must! It is up there with learning cables, making my second mandala square pillow cover for my other couch pillow, and buying more homemade items for myself and as gifts in support of other creators.

Oh, and I forgot to tell you that I completed my baby blanket! I finished it one day later than my goal. I had it off the needles by evening on January 2nd. I can’t believe I forgot to show it sooner than now! Taa-Daa #2!

For you Mina lovers, please keep the Mew in your thoughts/prayers. She is now a laundry room prisoner, as she continues to piddle around the house. The vet says to keep her in a room with her litter box and water/food dish to keep her from the temptation of our rugs (the victims of her incontinence) and we’re upping the concentration of her medicated food. Needless to say, Bryon and I feel like miserable mean parents, and clearly she isn’t the happiest either 😦

Prison bound

On a happier note, my parents, sister, and her fiance are safely in Milan, Italy! My brother and I are left behind, but we are very excited and happy for them and eagerly await emails and pictures as their adventure begins!

~Lacey

The Tree is Up!

At long last, our Christmas tree is finally standing and our house is officially set.


Please keep in mind that Bryon and I are still young and haven’t even been out of our parent’s houses for 2 full years yet. Obviously our tree is a bit sparse. The ornaments we do have were the ones we had growing up that we kept upon moving out. I got the idea from the charming Teresa about showing a few key ornaments that help define who we are.

A tiny crochet angel made by my grandmother on my dad's side.

One of my many glass/crystal snowflakes. I think are stunning! Needless to say, these types or ornaments are much higher up to help save them from Mina.

Many of Bryon's childhood ornaments light up or are animated when plugged into the string of lights. This adorable little clock is both! The clock face lights up and the pendulum with the mouse on it swings back and forth.

Mina had fun eating helping with the tree.

Yes....we have a fake tree. I understand the considerable debate on this, but it is what it is!

Crazy cat. She’s been all sorts of nibby this week! She got herself twisted up in Cassie’s scarf this past Friday as well.

Speaking of Friday, my work schedule changed this week. Previously I had worked Monday through Thursday, working long hours each day. I still work the long hours, but now I work Tuesday through Friday. I was not very pleased with this new change for various reasons, so I was not happy as I drove to work this past Friday. When me and my grumpy self got out of my car when I arrived, I had my breath taken from me by a BEAUTIFUL sunrise!

Absolute beauty ^_^

My day started to get better after that!

Saturday went well also. We had my sister’s bridal shower that morning! I made my chocolate chip biscotti again, Cassie made a cheese fondue, Sara Lynn loaned us her espresso machine, and we bought several other little foods to go along with the rest. The biscotti recipe was requested last time I mentioned it and so I will put it up at the end of this post!

Some of the nibbles!

Sara had a wonderful time visiting with friends and family, munching on treats, and opening her gifts!

I’m so happy for her! She is actually over this evening to spend a bit of time with me while she is home on holiday break. She’s in her final year of college so it makes me happy to have her home! Her apartment mates in school are all avid knitters so she understands my obsession 🙂 When she came tonight she asked if she could raid my scrap stash for yarn to knit up some scarves for some sock monkeys she is making for her close friends. I am more than happy to help her in this! She decided on these bits:

I hope her mini scarves turn out well. My latest scarf is nearly done! I only have a few inches left so I feel comfortable spending some time working on my other projects. My sock is coming along nicely for one thing.

What you're seeing is obviously the cuff folded down, the very flat heel, and the toe of the sock emerging from the loom.

I know I’m painfully slow, but I do enjoy what I manage to do! Well everyone, I’m off for the evening. Here is the biscotti recipe! I got it from a magazine so it calls for a particular store-bought ingredient.

1 package (1 lb. 1.5 oz.) sugar cookie mix (Betty Crocker is recommended by the recipe)

1/3 cup butter/margarine softened

1 egg

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup mini choc. chips

Make cookie dough by blending mix, butter, egg, and flour until a stiff crumbly dough forms. Stir in choc. chips (or other items such as chopped hazelnuts if you like). Form into rectangle of desired size onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before cutting into 1 inch wide strips. Place strips on their sides back on the cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes. Be sure to flip once. Place on cooling racks and cool completely.

Enjoy!

~Lacey, Mina, and Sara

Trick or Treat!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Well this has been an interesting Halloween for me. I’ve certainly had more tricks than treats lately. For those of you who saw my last post, today marks one week since I had my surgery. I’ve since had one week off of work and I’ve spent that week not doing much of anything. My main pastimes have been sleeping, reading, and knitting. I promise you there is now a permanent booty print in the couch where I have been lying. Bed rest is both a curse and a blessing! Mina has been playing nurse and decided I needed a heating pad on my chest while I was lying down one day.

Goofy thing. Oh well! Normally I keep to the love seat and she takes the sofa while Bryon sticks to his chair. Doesn’t it figure that the smallest of us takes the largest piece of furniture? Since I took the couch this week she has pretty much been curled up on some part of me most of the time. Whenever I would get up, I’d come back to this:

I'm sure she's going to be glad to get her couch back when I head back to work tomorrow!

I’ve had a few other nurses this past week. God Bless my grandmother 🙂 She spent the most time with me right after my surgery since Bryon had to return to work. She spent her afternoons with me while he was away. Eventually she had to head back home and my friends kept me company. Alethia and Cassie came over Friday night for our regular yarny exploits since I was unable to leave the house. Cassie was bound and determined to carve pumpkins on top of our normal activities. Alethia carved out a cute kitty cat, I doodled a little face on mine (I’m not much of a carver), and Cassie chipped out a face onto hers. It was apparently too thick to hollow out.

I like my little warty gourd 🙂

On to knitty business. I turned the heel in my sock today! Yay! The picture was taken Friday so it has grown a smidgen since then. I do like socks, they just take a long time since the stitches are so dinky. I’ll be very happy and proud to complete my first pair. This one is only the first though. I have many stitches still ahead of me!

I'm loving the colors!

I’ve also added several inches to my little baby blanket.

This was another good, mindless knit I could work on when I was in the haze induced by the strong pain pills. It’s very fuzzy and comforting, which made it a pleasure to work on while I was curled up on the couch. During my more cognitive hours, I kept to my Apple Hill Mitts. Well, mitt.

So close!

I’m nearly finished with the first one! I’m so excited! It has a few hiccups here and there, but I’m very proud of my first in-the-round project ^_^ I need to finish the top ribbing and do the thumb. You can see the stitches being held by my blue needle since I don’t have any “real” stitch holders. I’m hoping I can put the thumb together without much trouble.

That pretty much sums up my week. Tomorrow, some semblance of normalcy shall return to my life. I do still have two follow-up appointments and a blood test in my immediate future, but my schedule should go back to the way it was before all the madness began. Hopefully next time I talk to you all, I’ll have all of this behind me!

Happy Halloween from Lacey & Mina.

 

Renaissance Festival!

Good Evening!

Sunday evening has arrived and I’m enjoying the last bits of what has been a wonderful weekend. Yesterday Bryon, myself, Alethia, and four other of our close friends went out to the Ohio Renaissance Festival! For me personally, it’s my 9th year straight going. Call us all nerds if you like, but we sure do enjoy ourselves! After stopping to get coffee, we set out early to make the longish drive to get there when the gates opened.

You can see two of the "heralds" up on the wall. The one is holding onto his hat since the wind was so strong!

It was freezing! I think it may have hit 50 degrees but it was in the 40s mainly. Brrr! We heard some people betting on the possibility of snow.The good thing is that it was dry. We’ve had so much rain lately we were worried. Bryon ended up buying a cloak fairly soon to help him stay warm and Alethia got a beautiful fur shoulder wrap. I generally don’t approve of buying and selling furs, but the Lost Viking Hoard is a wonderful company that purchases all of their skin/fur from indigenous tribes who use the entire animal including the bones (jewelry, buttons, etc). It’s a very eco-friendly group of individuals. We visited several other stores varying from clothing shops, glass blowers, metal working, weapon shops, and pottery. So many fun things to buy and not enough money to spend! There were also several performers that were very entertaining. As always, we went to see The Swordsmen give their swordplay and comedy routine. There were also multiple musicians playing various instruments, including my favorite gentleman there who plays a glass harmonica. If you don’t know what that is, google it! It really is incredible. And the biggest event is naturally the joust! It is a full armor, full contact joust. Here is the knight who fought on our side of the list.

Sir Timothy

Putting on his helmet.

I’ll admit, the joust was a little disappointing this year. Only two lances broken and ended in a tie. Last year’s was incredible! Comparatively it was a bit of a let down but you can’t have an epic battle every year. I would have a lot more pictures overall, but unfortunately my batteries died much earlier than anticipated so these are the only ones I have for you…alas. After enjoying several hours of entertainment and losing all feeling in our fingers and toes, we piled back into our two cars and came back to our little home. It wasn’t long before everyone was curled up in the living room with blankets and hot drinks. Good times!

On a yarny note I finished the matching scarf!

That took me back down to 0 projects! I felt a little deprived and empty after I realized I didn’t have any other WIPs to turn to. My goals this week are to start that red ruffly scarf I had mentioned in my last post and work up at least one new little pumpkin since my sister requested one for her dorm room. I’d like to make another one as well since Mina seems to like the first one so well; that way she can have one of her own!

She refused to give me the towel after folding a warm load of laundry. A warm towel and a woolly toy. What more could she ask for?

Ah well. I did begin at least one new project tonight though! I dug out a sock loom I bought a while back when I told myself I wasn’t ever going to learn how to knit properly. I have some pretty autumnal looking sock yarn that I’d like to knit up and I figured I’d give the loom another shot! I made a manky looking practice sock on it when I first got it, but now that I understand more about how knitting works (ie- how to pick up dropped stitches) I am sure that I can make a better looking sock the second time around 🙂

The colors in the picture make it look a bit like a rainbow, but the colors are much more "leafy" looking in person. Does that make any sense? There's a lot of orange and yellow in it.

I also made some yummy Spicy Peanut Soup for dinner tonight, which made Bryon exceptionally happy! It’s a different kind of dish, but we love it and it goes wonderfully with some warm crusty bread, especially on a chilly day! So that pretty much sums it up. A great weekend with close friends, hot food/drinks, and pretty yarns. Does it get much better than that? Ahhh, I think not ^_^

Lacey &  Mina