My blog about knitting, teaching, and being a mother to two energetic young boys.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Inviting...


Isn't this a picture? Doesn't it make you want to just run outside & bask in all of the glory of nature?

Bright gleaming sunshine...

Snow-covered Chugach mountains...

So idyllic, no?

Okay - here's a few more photos to tempt you into the great outdoors of Alaska:

This photo was taken from my front doorstep while I was facing south:

Doesn't the blanket of snow just make everything look so clean, so inviting?

Perhaps you may want to reconsider:
No - this is not the work of photoshop. This is what our thermometer read this morning at 9:58am (disregard the time displayed - the clock is set by the atomic clock & doesn't account for Alaska Standard Time). Yes - it was -14.6°F this morning. And yes - our heater is having to work overtime to keep us warm - I think the heat had been on all night & only reached 61.7°F upstairs. Unless you are a serious die hard, used to bone-chilling, skin-freezing, snot-solidifying temperatures, this is just plain COLD, COLD, COLD!! I took these photos soon after showering & my hair actually froze during the short time I was outside. Yikes! So yes, going outside with wet hair is just plain dumb & I don't recommend it.

You learn early living in the 49th state that clear, sunny skies during the winter months = cold temperatures. Anchorage temperatures don't usually bottom-out like this, however. These are temps usually experienced by Fairbanks - approximately 360 miles north of here.

Click for Fairbanks, Alaska Forecast

Wow!! It's -29°F right now in Fairbanks. Okay - makes the current temperature of -11°F seem more tame.

We were supposed to go out to my parent's cabin yesterday, but the extreme weather changed our plans. It was -20°F at the place where we leave via snowmachine. The cabin is about 2 hours by snowmachine from Deshka landing. With high winds in the forecast combined with negative temps - good sense prevailed & we opted to stay home. Too bad - I was really looking forward to spending time with my parents & enjoying relaxing & quality knitting time. Perhaps we'll be able to squeeze in a trip before the winter vacation is over.

So - let's look at warmer things, shall we? Like a couple of Christmas knitting finished objects:

Danish Earflap Cap in Dimond High School colors

Yarn: Cascade 220 in Maroon & Gold
Pattern: Danish Earflap Cap from Hats On!


My hubby - such a good sport to stand outside to model his new hat. The 'earflaps' are more like cheek warmers in the large size.

Elka Icelandic Sweater from Best of Lopi

Yarn: Lopi Icelandic Wool
Recipient: My stepmother - she'll have to wait to receive it as they are at the cabin & we're not.


The yoke detail.

I was very glad to finish this project. While it was a fun & relatively fast knit, the amount of finishing - knitting separate button bands & sewing them into place, sewing on 6 buttons, weaving in ends, kitchner stitch the underarms, knitting collar & sewing in place was a bit taxing. Overall - I'm glad with the result. I felt the button bands pulled on the stitches a bit, so I'd like to improve on that the next time I tackle a similar project. There was no time to block the sweater, but since now we're not heading out to the cabin, I might set it in the tub for a good soak.

Okay - thanks for sticking with this long post. I think we're off to brave the cold & check out the ice sculptures downtown. Then back to knitting for me. Next up: the Druid Mittens from Vogue knitting.

Stay warm!! Ciao~


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Getting Ready for the Big Man's Arrival

Only 1 day left until "The Big Day" - the day when the jolly man in red pays the youngsters of chez Arcticknitter a visit. They have been good boys this year (for the most part - they are kids...) and are anxiously awaiting his arrival. The tree is decorated, the stockings are hung, gifts are wrapped and under the tree. All that leaves is baking the annual Christmas cookies for Santa.

Of course - not just any cookie will do. No - can't just make a quick batch of drop cookies & be done in an hour or so. No, no, no - we dig out the cookie cutters, chill dough for 2-3 hours, make butter cream frosting & then turn the kitchen into a virtual Christmas bakery. Let's see... 3 hours later and DH is doing the dishes. (Have I told you how much I love that man??)

Here's the trouble with 'self-portraits' - you can't tell if the younger son is making a nice photo face. At least it captures his personality quite accurately. Hmm... perhaps a little lipstick is in order here. Winter weather = pale, pale, faces...

The kids want to know how many cookies Santa eats in one night. (They've estimated somewhere between 500 and 5,000,000 ) Is he skinny the rest of the year & fattens up as he travels around the globe delivering presents? Does he put some of the cookies in the freezer & eat later? Does he share the cookies with his elves and Mrs. Claus? Inquisitive children want to know!!!

The weather has warmed up a smidge - it's about 20°F right now. Snow is falling too! Yeah - while I know snow can pose a serious danger & inconvenience to areas unaccustomed to significant snowfall, I just love the stuff. Well - as long as I don't have to go anywhere & can just stay home to enjoy it. Oh - and as long as it doesn't fall in significant amounts during the high school outdoor soccer season. (That seriously irritates me...) I even enjoy the shoveling to a certain degree.

Well - off to make dinner & do some knitting. With the laundry & baking today, not a stitch has been formed thus far. Not good if I'm going to finish hubby's hat & the Icelandic sweater in the next couple of days.

Come on Santa - we're ready!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Flurry of Finishing

While much of the lower 48 is being inundated with snow flurries (okay - that's a bit of an understatement; more like blizzards) - there's been a flurry of Finished Objects around chez Arcticknitter the past couple of days. Drum Roll please....


The Amanda Hat II
Details:

Cast-On: December 13, 2008
Cast-Off: December 21, 2008

Pattern: The Amanda Hat

Yarn: Left over Peace Fleece from Amanda Hat I & Cascade 220 remnants. I thought I would run out of Peace Fleece (after knitting 2/3 of the hat), so I frogged & restarted using the Cascade 220 superwash, held double, to maximize the Peace Fleece. Of course - I over estimated & still have yarn left over.

Recipient: No one in particular. This hat may go into the winterwear box.


Welted Fingerless Mitts

Details:

Cast-On: December 19, 2008 (evening)
Cast-Off: December 21, 2008 (morning)

Yarn: Manos Silk Blend in colorway 3019

Pattern: Welted Fingerless Mitts - A free pattern w/yarn purchase from Churchmouse Yarn & Teas. We visited this shop on Bainbridge Island, WA during our summer road trip. There was a knitted sample that I thought was soooo cute. This is a fun, quick knit!!

Recipient: A great friend...

Thorpe

Details:

Cast-On: December 21, 2008 (evening)
Cast-Off: December 22, 2008 (morning)

Yarn: Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande Paint

Contrast Yarn: Mission Wool 1824 - remnant from the Koolhaas project (which I did finish - just no new photo to share....)

Needle: US 9

Pattern: Thorpe by Through The Loops

Recipient: No one in particular while I was knitting. I've now decided I'm keeping it!

Wowza!! This is a great pattern made with a fantastic yarn. I've oogled this yarn several times while visiting Far North Yarn Co., thinking it'd be perfect for this pattern. I wasn't mistaken. This hat is knit from the top down & the size large uses every bit of yarn. I think I had maybe 1 foot left over. Perfect!!!! The Alpaca is sooooo soft & warm. I purchased another skein in a blue colorway - that will become a hat for DH. I think I now know what I'll knit for teachers as late holiday gifts. (as fellow teachers I'll hope they'll forgive my horrible procrastination & understand why they weren't done prior to holiday vacation).

Those of you with astute observation have probably noticed that none of these projects is a finished Icelandic sweater. Ahhh - the art of procrastination - I have mastered thee. The sweater is out of my room & in plain view so it can't be ignored much longer. I also purchased thread today so I can attach buttons. So - buttons, button hole band & collar to do. I have until the 27th to finish, so I think I'll be okay...

Ciao! For those of you under the newest blanket of snow & ice - knit on & stay warm!!!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Holiday Progress

Seriously now - where does the time go? I can remember thinking about my holiday knitting list earlier in the school year with nary a worry. How did it get to be Dec. 9th already - only 15 knitting days left (if you don't count knitting in the wee hours of Christmas morning)!! Sorry for those who didn't want such a drastic reminder. Yeah - it's time to wake-up & read the calendar - the days are ticking away.

I had planned to make hats for Orion's teachers (x 2) and perhaps a pair of mittens for Iain's teacher. Mittens only because she received a hat when she was Orion's teacher last year. Yeah - what's the likelihood that I'll knock off a pair of mittens before the end of next week? Especially when I thought I'd knit these. Yup - that's what I thought too. I guess there's always teacher appreciation week. (By the way - teacher appreciation week occurs in May - who doesn't need a pair of wool mittens in May??) And let's not forget I coach H.S. soccer which begins in March. Okay - time for a reality check; the mittens might have to wait until next year. I'll have all summer to get them done. Note to Self: Procrastination isn't getting the knitting done. (I'll be sure to write that down later...)

So - here's what I do have done:

1) Pair of socks (Jacobean)

2) Hey, Teach! sweater for my sister. (She doesn't read my blog, or know that it exists for that matter, so I think I'm safe in listing her gift here) This originally was for me, but is too small. I've more of the same yarn (knit picks swish) in the stash, so I'll knit another for me very soon.

3) Hat for my 6th hour teacher aide (Tam from Hat's On)

4) Hat for my 4th hour teacher aide (The Amanda Hat)

The link takes you to a photo gallery of lots of Amanda Hats. Great, great pattern & a fun, QUICK knit. Did I mention it was quick? A 4 row pattern repeat + some garter rows & viola - you are done!!

Details:

Yarn: Peace Fleece in some blue colorway...
This was some stash yarn I received in a swap last year. 4 oz - looks like I'll be able to knit another of these hats. :0) The yarn band says the yarn will blossom & soften up w/some washings. We'll see... it isn't too scratchy, I think I'd be able to wear it on my head w/o trouble. Anyhow - just took a couple of evenings to knit.

Needles: Size 9 Addi Turbo (big needles = quick projects!!)


Works in Progress:

1) Koolhaas Hat for the student who isn't officially my aide, but comes in every 5th hour to see if I need help (she isn't skipping a class - she's an aide for another staff member who doesn't have anything for her to do...). She is fantastic and deserves a fantastic hat. Here's where I am so far:

BrooklynTweed has done it again!! The pattern is found in the 2007 Holiday edition of IK. The hat for the photo shoot was knit using Yak yarn - fresh out of that, so into the stash I went. I surfaced with some Mission Falls 1824. I'd forgotten how much I love knitting with Mission Falls 1824. So soft, so sproingy....

Word of caution - this pattern incorporates cables. In fact, the 1st row & 5th row of the 8 row pattern repeat cables every pair of stitches!! So.... I highly recommend you a) use some fantastically pointy needles like knit picks options and b) learn how to cable without a cable needle. Fortunately, I knit most of my Central Park Hoodie using the cable w/o a cable needle method, so I am familiar with the process. You can find a great tutorial here or here. Unfortunately, I don't have a knit picks needle on a small enough cable (16" or 20") so I'm using an Addi Turbo size 8. Not quite as pointy as I'd like, so dropping the stitch toward the back is a bit tricky. However - still way faster than having to pick up a cable needle 52 times in one row. Just thought you'd like to know.... All in all, I'm loving this knit - fun & still pretty quick. I think I'll make one for me during winter vacation.

2) Icelandic Sweater for my stepmother. This is pretty close to being done - need to tack down button band, knit button-hole band, knit collar, kitchner under arms where the yoke and arms were attached. I think I'll tackle this after school let's out for break.

So - off to finish Koolhas and work on The Amanda Hat #2. Details about the icord bind-off for my CPH next time - need to make dinner & hit the needles.

Ciao!

Friday, December 5, 2008

19 knitting days left...

While I was visiting PDXKnitterati's blog, I came across this:


You Belong in London



You belong in London, but you belong in many cities... Hong Kong, San Francisco, Sidney. You fit in almost anywhere.

And London is diverse and international enough to satisfy many of your tastes. From curry to Shakespeare, London (almost) has it all!

Curry - Yum!!! Yes, I *love* London - since my first visit as a high school senior back in 1988, I've visited London 5 additional times. It's great... I'm hoping to visit again soon, next time with my kids.

It'a 6:00 and 30°F now (it's warmed up since last weekend) and dark, dark, dark. Just had to go and put on my CPH.

Have I mentioned I love this sweater?

Okay - back to knitting. Courtney has reminded me that Christmas is only 19 knitting days away, and of course shorter if I'm going to give any knitted gifts to my children's teachers.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Stick a Fork In It!

And call it done! I've finished sweater #3 - the ever popular Central Park Hoodie from the 2006 Fall edition of KnitScene.

I purchased this yarn from WEBS over a year ago with this sweater in mind. I know - it looks suspiciously like my other sweater, the Not Your Average Sweatshirt - just in cardigan form. I guess you could say I'm a sucker for cables.

Loved, loved, loved this knit. Relatively fast and fun. Pretty standard construction - knit the back, knit the two fronts, knit sleeves, pick up stitches for hood, pick up stitches for button bands, and then seam the whole shebang together. Piece of cake...

I have to give tons of props to Ravelry. If you haven't made use of this resource yet, you are missing out. While this pattern has been out for 2 years, I've found it certainly pays to wait a bit before jumping in. Then - I read the forums in Ravelry and learn from other knitters' experiences. Such as...

Running the double cable up the hood. The original pattern calls for a basic stockinette hood seamed together at the center. Not only did I continue the cable up the hood, but I tried (rather unsuccessfully) to do some short row shaping to make the hood less pointy. It is less pointy than my other hoodie, but still - I look like a gnome when the hood is up. I figure I won't wear it up much anyway. The other hood modification was to kitchner the sides of the hood together rather than do a traditional bind off and seam it up. Looks pretty good.

The next mod: Knitting a larger sleeve. Many knitters mentioned the sizing of this sweater runs a tad bit small. So - since I'm not a teenager with toothpick sized arms, I chose to knit the sleeves in the next size up (the medium, rather than the small size). Turns out - that was a fabulous idea - the shaping for the arm was perfect - no wrestling needed to set in the sleeves & I have plenty of room to wear a long sleeved shirt underneath. Yup - worked out just dandy.


The last modification was to pick up all the stitches along the fronts and the hood at once rather than do one half at a time as per the original pattern. I ordered a 60" cable from knitpicks (LOVE my options set!! - great gift for a knitter, hint - hint) and then spent the better part of an entire day picking up 300+ stitches and knitting a 1.75" k2p2 ribbing. I chose not to add buttons, so no button holes either. I figure I wouldn't button the sweater anyhow, so decided not to add any holes. Also - another suggestion from Ravelry - chose to do an i-cord bind off. Wow - that took a lot of time. Knitting three stitches for every one stitch bound off - but, the effort was worth it.

Bottom line - I.LOVE.THIS.SWEATER!!!

Dirty Details:

Size: Small (36")
Yarn: Donegal Tweed from Tahki Yarns (the suggested yarn for the pattern) 6+ skeins
Colorway: Can't remember - some purple color.
Needles: Size 6 & 8 from Knitpicks

Now... on to holiday knitting with a gusto!

ETA: Please pardon the crazy dark photos with the dreary dirty kitchen background. Getting good lighting for photos in December in Alaska at 9:00pm is a pretty tall order.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Addicted...

Hello. My name is Arctic Knitter and I have a Noro Scarf knitting addiction. I blame the Yarn Harlot and my inability to just say no. I had stumbled upon BrooklynTweed's scarf sometime last year. I was taken by the incredible colors of the Noro yarn. My original opinion of Noro was that it was too scratchy - I couldn't imagine knitting with it. So - I admired the scarf from afar and promptly forgot about it.

But then, I was reading the Yarn Harlot's blog at a time in my knitting life when I needed simple knitting. As soon as I saw her photos and read her description about her experience with Noro, I knew I was hooked. Last Saturday my son and I needed to purchase a birthday gift for his friend. It just so happens there is a fantastic toy shop next door to a LYS, The Yarn Branch. Serendipitous. So - while the gift was being wrapped, not wanting to waste time just standing around, I popped into the yarn shop, with boys in tow to take a gander at the Noro one more time. A quick fondle of the Silk Garden & before you can cast on 5 stitches, 4 balls of the stuff and a set of size 7 straight needles were in my basket.

Scarves and I usually don't get along. As I've stated before, I have the attention of a flea - I get bored within inches of knitting a scarf. Not this time - the mindless 1x1 rib over 31 stitches (reduced from BrooklynTweed's 39) and the mesmerizing color changes of the yarn held me rapt for hours and as of now, 36 inches. I'm halfway through a scarf I began Saturday afternoon. Not too bad.
I've told myself I'll finish these 2 balls (colorways 270 and 292) and then it has to rest while I finish up my CPH, the Icelandic sweater, and my husband's hat. I still have holiday knitting I'd like to finish (but first I must begin!), so I do have to show a little restraint by taking a break from this scarf.

I can do it. Yeah - I can quit anytime I want to.

Knitting problem - nope, not me.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thanks to Courtney, I just spent the last 4 minutes assessing what should I know about Human Anatomy & Physiology:


I named 17 organs in 4 minutes! How many internal organs can you name in 4 minutes?

In all fairness - I named WAY more than the 17 this quiz gave me credit for. I think I was only missing 6 according to the quiz. I named 'skin' - it is the largest organ of the human body, yet it didn't count. I named veins - yup, that counted, but arteries did not. The small intestine and large intestine were combined as 'intestines'. I typed in 'adrenal gland', when the quiz only accepted 'adrenals'. This was a fun way to spend 4 minutes & a great way to avoid doing laundry.

When you don't have a regular table - a wooden sock blocker works just fine! I'm writing the line-up rotation for the U-8 soccer team I coach on Saturdays.

On the knitting front:

I'm almost finished with sleeve #1 of the Central Park Hoodie - I had to rip back about 17 rows to fix a hole and a cable. I'm waiting for my knit picks 60" cable so I can pick up the button band ribbing all along the hood and both fronts. The pattern calls for picking up half of the stitches at a time, but I think a continuous band from the bottom right all the way over to the left front would look so much nicer. It's running a bit small, so I think I'm going to add a zipper rather than buttons - that should give me an additional inch.

I'm beginning some Christmas knitting as well - a hat for hubby in the colors of the high school where he works, as well as some hats and mittens for my children's teachers. I can't believe it's already the middle of November - time sure does fly.

On the soccer front: My knees are holding up & I'm enjoying being back in the game. Last night I played as a sub for an over-30 league. This league plays small sided games (4 v 4 + goalie) on the small end zones of our large inside field. It was way more relaxed & fun - you actually had to worry about touch on the ball & technique rather than speed and strength. As a result - I scored 2 goals & had one assist in our 4 - 1 victory. Now - why can't I do that in my regular league games?

Winter has arrived here in Southcentral AK - last weekend we went ice skating at Potters March - a large wetland perfect for skating when it's frozen & there isn't an appreciable accumulation of snow. Here Iain & some friends are showing off the fish they caught. - They broke open a hole in the ice & just scooped it out. Iain is wearing the mink hat his Iain is wearing the mink hat his Oba (Japanese word for grandmother - she's my stepmother) made for him.

Stay warm & knit on. Off to soccer games #2 & #3 for the weekend. I hope there are more goals left in my shoes!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Yeah, right...

I hadn't planned on blogging today - nothing new to report (no FO, etc) & nothing too terribly exciting going on. So - I sat down after work to do my daily blog reading (thank you Bloglines) & came across a "What Should You Be When You Grow Up?" on Winston's Mom's blog. Hanging out with teenagers all day probably has stunted my maturity a bit, so why not - let's see what I 'should' be according to a very scientific, properly vetted, website:


You Should Be a Politician
(my dad would have a coronary if he saw this...)



Confident, assertive, and dedicated - you know what you want in life and how to get it.

Stubborn and opinionated, (okay, I can't really argue this point) you can stand your ground... even if it's unpopular.

And while you have strong views, you never overwhelm people with your opinions.

A true charmer (?!?), you subtly influence people into seeing things your way. (That's what I always tell my students - if you just do things my way, everything will work out okay...)

You do best when you:

- Work according to your own rules (Who doesn't like making up their own rules???)

- Can change the world with what you do (One student at a time)

You would also be a good lawyer or talk show host. (Oprah look out!!!)

What Should You Be When You Grow Up?


And I just thought the picture was pretty. Who knew.... Hmmm - now that I think about it, my 8th grade social studies teacher did predict that I would become the 1st female president of the U.S. Look out 2016!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Did....

Did You?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Simple Pleasures

I'm so excited!!! Finally it appears as though Anchorage is catching up to the Lower 48. Today I received our curbside recycling bin from our local waste management service. I know many communities in the Lower 48 have had curbside recycling for years, but not so here in Alaska.

Last week, our local paper ran an article about recycling and mentioned that of 35,000 customers of Alaska Waste, only 5,000 were taking advantage of the curbside recycling program. Wow!!! The article made it sound as if all of Alaska Waste's customers could sign up for this service - so I dutifully called to find out that no, not all customers have recycling available in their area (sob...) But... it seems as if our neighborhood is on the Orange Route, so yup - every other week for a mere pittance a month (less than having 2 grande latte's at a local coffee establishment!!) they would come & haul away my recycling!! Yeah!!!


My husband and I have been trying to cut down on the amount of trash we put out each week by recycling what we can. We dutifully sort all recyclables and then bring it to the recycling center in Anchorage when we can no longer walk into our storage space under the house. I am just so excited that now all we have to do is wheel the container to the end of the driveway & some nice people will come & take it all away. We don't even have to sort!!! Yes - simple pleasures, indeed.

For those of you less than enthusiastic about recycling (I can't imagine!) - here's my latest F.O.:

These are the Mystery Socks from Through the Loops. What a fun knit & great way to find my sock knitting mojo. This pattern has consistently been one of the most popular patterns on Ravelry. I liked how clues were doled out weekly giving us less than lightning quick knitters a good pace to follow.

Details:

Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy.

The jury is still out on how I feel about this yarn. I kept splitting it - perhaps it was due to the wonderful pointiness of the knitpicks needles. It knits up rather nice - a great finished project. The skeins are bountiful as well - I have tons left over. I think I'll use it to make some holiday ornaments.

Colorway: Lipstick Lava

Needles: Knit Picks #1 (2.50 mm)

Size: To fit a size 8.5 (64 stitch count)

Now I need to decide whether or not to keep these or pass them along as a gift.


**Don't forget (as if you could) that tomorrow is Election Day. Please exercise your hard earned right, privilege, and duty and vote!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Whew!

Whew! October has been one of those months where I'm so glad when it's over! This month included: Elementary Science Day #1 (my science club visits local elementary schools and leads students in hands-on science activities), Mole Day, knitting classes x 2, soccer x 4 each weekend (kids and mine), End of Quarter grading, Parent/Teacher conferences, and of course - Halloween. Let's hope November is a bit more sane. Through all of this I've been trying to accomplish some knitting - I didn't finish the TTL Mystery Socks by the end of the month, but oh well. I started a week late, so if I finish in the next couple of days, I'm still ahead, right?

Here I am finishing the major project that had to be completed by Halloween:

The Hobbes costume c'est fini! (Thank heaven & all the stars!)

Not the svelte, lithe looking tiger you might expect (more like a tiger on steroids), but it's together & well - the extra room came in handy for wearing long underwear & a knit hat underneath. The temp last night for trick or treating was around 15°F. Brrrr!!! Hobbes said he stayed nice & toasty warm. At least the face paint was rather easy - Hobbes has just a white face & black nose. Had I planned my time better, I could have constructed some white fur to stick out around his face like it does in the real comic.

I can't even go into all of the frustration about sewing this thing - like, sewing the white belly on the wrong sides, or perhaps sewing the tail in such a way that it turned out to be on the inside of the costume. Yeah - I think I need to stick with knitting. And pins - ughh!! My fingertips are sore from the all times I poked myself. Knitting needles rarely inflict so much pain.
Here are Calvin and Hobbes - in character, of course.

Cold temps in Alaska usually means bright, sunny weather. It has been beautiful, so I can't complain. Watching the sun come up behind the mountains is my favorite time of the day - how the sky is a light blue with the mountains silhouetted in a dark navy - it's just breath taking. Cold weather also brings ice skating & the first snow angel of the season:

video

Yes - winter is here.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Letter To Mom

Dear Mom,

It's me Winston - I've included a photo to help jog your memory. Where did you go? One minute Daddy was bringing me to day care (where I did very well, by the way - thanks for asking) and the next, some crazy lady who looked like she was about to fall asleep any minute, was picking me up. My friends at DayCare said I had to go with her. Really now - I just don't understand you humans sometimes. If you're tired, you don't operative those 4-wheeled things that go zoom; lie down and take a nap!

Luckily, we made it safely to her house, Chez Roach. Quite the digs I must say - nice big yard to do my business if you know what I mean. They even have another Dog!!! How cool is that - if memory serves, she stayed with us this summer. Her name is Joulee and she's been very nice. I asked if I could call her Grandma, but she said no ( I hope she wasn't offended). She's magical!!! We run downstairs & she can jump through doors!! It's just crazy - one minute she's there, the next she's not. I haven't quite figured out how she does it. I did notice in the morning when the humans were leaving, doggie biscuits magically appeared through the door. I think I could learn to like this place! I mean this is a trick you and Daddy need to learn!

Guess what else???? There is another critter that lives here - I think it's called a cat. I haven't been able to get too close, because it stays on top of the freezer in the garage. Take a look -

It's a cat, right? She is soooo cute. I think she's magical too. She can change sizes!! When I first saw her, she looked rather small. Then, when I tried to get closer, she jumped on top of the 4-wheeled thing that goes zoom & got really big!!! Her fur must have been 10 feet tall at the least!! Quite terrifying I must say! I just want to say hello & play a bit. Maybe she's just shy.

Can we talk about the food situation for a bit? I swear the cup you use at home is WAY BIGGER than the one they have here. The crazy lady swears its the same and that you left her some sort of lesson plan of how much to feed me. She says she's a teacher and that she's very good at following lesson plans. Come on Mom, I'm so hungry!!! I think my bowl is smaller too - are you sure you wrote out the correct instructions? I tried to tell the crazy lady that I normally get as much as I want, but she said no, I can only have 2 cups. No wonder Joulee is so skinny! Fortunately, Joulee is kind of messy & drops little bits on the floor which I gobble up before the crazy lady can pick them up. You gotta be fast around here or you may starve!!! I can happily report they have roast beef here - just like at home!! At least she got that part right.

We went on an expedition yesterday afternoon. The crazy lady wouldn't fill my cup before we left - I got some roast beef as a snack & then off we went. It was pretty cool - we ran up hills and walked around a lake. There were some birds, but I wasn't allowed to look at them up close.

The crazy lady wouldn't let me run free. She kept me tied to the leash. She let Joulee run without a leash - so unfair!! What's up with that? The crazy lady said she was afraid I would run off - now really; I couldn't possibly leave without my cup and my cow. Perhaps next time I'll bring them along, just in case the crazy lady has a lapse of judgment & turns me loose.

Look at me!! I'm standing on solid water!!

Yeah - here I am getting pulled back. I just wanted to see the moving water and take a drink. The crazy lady said no (she has a very limited vocabulary, I've decided). I'm a retriever for pete's sake - we're supposed to like the water. Geez

Well, I hope you are having a good time. Do you miss me? Are you coming back? When??? I really miss sleeping in a nice big comfy bed. Seems the man in this place is adverse to dogs sleeping in the bed. What's the big deal? The crazy lady didn't really seem to mind. I think she was just too darned tired during night #1 that if a rabid tiger jumped in the bed she wouldn't have done anything about it.

I love you and Daddy - can't wait to see you. Are you bringing me a present? (oh - crazy lady said that's impolite to ask such a question. Dang - there are so many rules around here)


Love and Slobbery Kisses,

Winston

(aka by the crazy lady "Wiggly Butt")

Friday, October 24, 2008

Eeeek-A-Steek

OMG! (That's what I'm reduced to after spending considerable time with teenagers). I've finally done it - I've gone and cut through my knitting. Yes, indeedy - I am no longer a steek virgin.

Last night was my 3rd (of 4) Icelandic sweater class. All major knitting was complete - all was left to do was turn a tube of intertwined loops into a cardigan.

The first order of business was to knit a few short rows to raise the back a smidgy bit. This went well. Next on the road to steek-dom was to baste in some stitches using a contrasting thread. They are to help guide me while I sew the knitting.

Next up was to sew reinforcement stitches so the knitting won't unravel when it's cut. There's some crazy talk out there that these stitches are unnecessary, but I don't think I'd leave it to chance. Our instructor brought along her Husqvarna sewing machine - boy is it slick! At a touch of a button, the machine cuts its own thread. How nifty is that?? It almost makes me want to do more sewing just so I can have a machine that cuts its own thread.

Below you'll see the reinforcement stitches in white thread. The nifty sewing machine has a knit function, so it does a tiny zig-zag w/a straight stitch. This allows for a bit of stretch. Nope - my old machine doesn't do that either. Hmmm - sounding more & more like I need one of these fandangled machines. Turns out I just used the left hand knit stitch as a guide - the red thread wasn't really needed. Perhaps it was just there as a security blanket to make me feel better. Tricksy teacher.

Here I am - doing the deed. Scissors in hand and a deep breath - snip, snip, snip.


And all that without a glass of wine or a shot of whiskey. Brave (or blissfully ignorant?)

Next - knitting button & neck bands. I'll sure to report back when I'm all done.

Ciao~

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mole Day!!

**Warning - This Post Contains NO Knitting Content**

Greetings fellow nerds!

Today is National Mole Day! A day to celebrate Avogadro's Number 6.02 x 10^23 - a way to relate quantity of atoms to masses of atoms. At East High School, we celebrate by arriving at school by 6:02 am. We gather with our students around the school's flag pole to sing mole songs ("Happy Mole Day to You" and "We've Got The Whole Mole, In Our Hands") at 6:02 am. After singing, we enter the school to enjoy juice, doughnuts, and East High's version of the "Mole-ympics". (Aren't we clever...) Students participate in the "Mole-legged" Race, "Mole-sical" Chairs, "Mole-a-Put", and the Avocado Relay.

Why do we do this? To show students that chemistry is fun and learning can be silly. I'll tell you - my students never forget Avogadro's number. Now, they may forget how to do math/chemistry equations, but they never forget the actual number. I suppose it is worth getting up so darned early. Of course - a little extra credit thrown in works as an excellent incentive to get teenagers to drag their bums out of bed & show up to school an hour and a half before 1st period.In addition to getting up 'before God', to receive the full extra credit points, students were required to make a mole & dress it up. Moles were entered in the East High Next Top Mole contest. The mole above is an "Eskimole" - aren't our students so clever? Of course, being as tired as I was (my eyelids feel as if there are 100 lb weights attached to them), I forgot to take pictures of the other entries.

My boys have grown up with Mole Day. I remember when they were itty-bitty, scooping them out of their crib & carting them off in their car seat in the wee morning hours. Orion even made it on the local news during the 2001 Mole Day.

There is a bit of a lag between the end of the morning Mole Day festivities and when I drive them to school, so how do my boys pass the time? Check it out:

"Mole Vader & Mole" (Although it looks like a strange mole mating ritual)

Good vs Evil

Not a flying pizza, but a "Mole Destroyer"

I'm sure George Lucas really meant "Mole Star" instead of "Death Star" - must have been some crazy 1970's typo.

Yes - the Brain Washing has begun....

Just need to prop toothpicks under my eyelids & then I'm off to knitting class to perform major surgery. I'm STEEKING my Icelandic sweater tonight. Wish me luck....

I leave you with our house guest for the weekend....
Hi Mom!! (in case you're reading blogs this weekend....)