Worms, worms, worms!

Did you ever have one of those times when everything you touched turned to worms?  Well, not literally, but it seems like it.  That's where my knitting has been going lately.  A list for your perusal:

1.  Yartini Cardigan – I reached the armholes and was merrily knitting away when I realized that if I knitted the pattern as written, the armholes would fit me!  Yes, I could have figured out my row gauge and the required measurements, but that would have involved actual thinking.  Frogged!!!

2.  Socks for hubby – I figured it was about time I knitted some socks for hubby.  I don't think they will replace his favorite Worlds's Softest Socks, but he needed at least one pair from his loving wife.  I picked out a pattern and was merrily knitting away and halfway down the cuffs when I realized I was knitting 11 1/2 sized men's socks on size 0 needles.  WHAT was I thinking?  Frogged and restarted, this time my own pattern using size 1 needles, Dream in Color Smooshy in Chinatown Apple and a stitch pattern from Charlene Schurch's first book.


3.  Shetland Faroese Shawl – Ok, so nothing else seems to be working.  How about picking up some tried and true lace?  I'm on the last chart, piece o' cake, right?  So . . . I'm knitting merrily away (cue ominous music here) and start the last chart only to discover that I have about 20 excess stitches.  How could that happen??  I was dead on in the last chart and I've only done four rows of stockinette since then.  So I tink back, try again and now I am 4 stitches short.  Rinse and repeat about four times with 400 (YES) stitches and I'm starting to sing, "The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms pay pinochle on your snout."  That and giggling hysterically.  It's not a pretty sight.  Placed in a bag in time out.

My knitting mojo may have flown the coop, but my quilting mojo is hanging in there.  I've finished two quilt tops this week.  This one is for Quilts of Valor.  Their goal is to present every wounded soldier with a quilt.  At our last quilt meeting they read a really heartwarming letter from a mother.  She said her son had been really disconnected from everyone until he received his quilt.  He wanted it with him every minute, only giving it up at the door to surgery and making them promise it will be there when he returns.  It's only since receiving the quilt that he's started to talk about his experiences.  I'm proud to be able to contribute and incredibly sad that there is even a need.


I'll end on a lighter note and a picture of Maggie's new favorite activity – chasing  bubbles!


Heat Wave!

We’re having a heat wave!  It’s all the way up to, uh, 75?  I know, laughable to a lot of you, but in some parts of western Washington it’s in the 90’s today.  Way too hot!!  Luckily for us, we’re surrounded by coastline, so we’re staying relatively cool.

Not much knitting content because I’ve been sewing, sewing sewing.  But I did make a new knitting bag – because we can never have too many knitting bags, right?  To celebrate my new alumni status, I even made it in Washington State colors.  Tastefully elegant on the outside:


Wild and crazy on the inside:


This is the Miranda bag from Lazy Girl Designs.  I highly recommend this pattern for those of you who sew.  The directions are very clear and the project was amazingly quick.  There will definitely be more of these in my future.  I’m going to stash some basic knitting notions in here and when I need to go I can throw in my wallet and current knitting project and I’ll be all set!

There were also knitting goodies for graduation.  Mom and Dad gave me a sock knitting book along with a check for yarn.  Thanks Mom and Dad – you really know the way to girl’s heart!  Here’s the book:


I gave this technique a whirl, but found it awfully fiddly.  There were just too many things to keep track of.  But even if I don’t use the technique, there are lots of really cute patterns in here, including some darling toddler socks I’ll have to make for Isobel.  However, it did get me thinking about the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome and my tendency to fall prey to it.  Marguerite mentioned that she knits the two socks at the same time, each one on its own set of two circular needles, along with a fifth circular for doing the heel.  That seemed just the ticket for me, so I used Mom and Dad’s check to order 5 size one circs from Knit Picks.  I also searched high and low on the internet to find some Dream in Color Smooshy in Chinatown Apple.  I think I scored the last skein available!


These weren’t the only gifts I received for graduation.  My friends and family have been very generous.  My sister gave me this Lladro:


Isn’t she precious?  She reminds me of Isobel.  My friends from church gave me a rose bush.  The lovely pink blossoms will remind me of this celebration for many years to come (providing I don’t kill it!).  My friend Jan gave me two beautiful Waterford goblets.  The neat thing is that she also gave me two when I got my Associate’s Degree!  She bought these at the same time and has been holding on to them for four years.  She was probably also holding her breath that I would graduate and she wouldn’t be stuck with two mismatched goblets!  And my brother-in-law and sister-in-law gave me a book on machine quilting.  I’m going to get a lot of use out of it and am already planning projects.  There is still one more gift to come – from hubby.  But I will keep you in suspense.

Lastly, I leave you with this pathetic little face.


Our little girl is a woman now.  Maggie came into season last week.  What a pain!  She really does not like wearing the doggie diapers, and I don’t blame her.  I made these for her because the ones we bought had a hole for her non-existent tail and they kept slipping down.  Our agreement with her breeder was not to spay her so that she could be bred at least once.  Hopefully we won’t have to put up with this more than one more time.  And, it will fun seeing her become a mother. 


And Life Goes On

Look – I have new license plate frame:


And a new coffee mug (thanks Sis!):


Pretty cool, huh?  All the company is gone and life is getting back to what I call the "new normal".  My parents left on Wednesday and after I got home from work it really hit me.  Even after all my assignments were done, I still had the run up to graduation with all the ordering and planning, etc.  Then graduation weekend and the days after with company in the house.  But on Wednesday night it was all over.  I thought I’d log into the school website to my personal page and just see if there were any last comments by instructors, but when I logged on, I got the message, "You are not enrolled in any classes."  It hit me then that it really is over and after 10 years a different life is beginning.  I certainly don’t feel lost without classes, but it is a little strange not to have assignments hanging over my head!

One of the most common questions I get is what I’m going to "do" with my degree.  It’s almost as if the degree is useless unless there is some kind of financial pay-off.  My cousin Margaret said it best in her comment, "Education’s empowerment is felt in every aspect of your life, and in ways we can’t imagine."  I’m a firm believer that education has value for its own sake, regardless of any financial return.  I’m a different person than I was 10 years ago, and I hope, a better one.

As I mentioned, stealth knitting was going on.  I even have an FO.  I present the Flutter Scarf:


This was a great pattern and I highly recommend it.  It would be a good first lace project.  The main pattern is only four rows, easily memorized and goes on forever with a "flutter" of activity at the end.  I gave this to my mother for Mother’s Day.  We didn’t get any model shots while she was here, but I hope she’ll get some and send to me (hint, hint).  The yarn is Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in the Iris colorway, needles Knit Picks Options #3.

I also started what I hope will be a quick baby gift:


This is the Yarni Cardigan by Mary Lou Egan.  Susan Lawrence calls this her new "go to" baby pattern and I think she’s right.  This just may become my baby present of choice.  Loads of fun and with all the great sock yarns out there, the possibilities are endless.  I’m using Regia Cotton Surf, which is not my favorite for socks, but is great for this pattern.  Knit Picks Options, #2.  This will be for our youth pastor and his wife who have a new baby.  My hope is to have it done before the little tyke outgrows it!

It’s Official!

It’s official!  Ok, not technically – the Board of Regents still has to review my transcript and grant me my diploma, but it feels official to me.  Settle down because this is a picture intensive post.

We headed off to Pullman bright and early Friday morning.  It’s a long haul across Snoqualmie Pass, but the weather shined on us.  That’s usually a given at this time of year, but just a week ago there was snow in the passes!  We arrived at our beautiful B&B in Uniontown without incident:


That’s Mom and Dad.  The Inn used to be the parish house for the Catholic church next door.  We toured the church, which for its size rivals many of the cathedrals we saw in England:


That evening we went over to the University for a reception for the graduates in my program.  There we experienced what I think for my parents was the highlight of the weekend!  Washington State University has a new president – Dr. Elson Floyd.  It just so happens that he came to us from the University of Missouri and my parents have a mutual friend with him.  My brother-in-law, a professor of Landscape Architecture at the University just happened to be working on a project next door to the reception and the President stopped by to chat.  Phil mentioned the mutual friend and President Floyd actually sought us out to say hello to my parents!  They were thrilled and a lowly graduate got to have a photo opp with the President!!


After a lovely breakfast the next morning, my friend Jan picked me up and we went into Pullman for the requisite photo at Cougar Plaza:


I can’t say enough thanks to Jan and her daughter Krissie for dealing with a nervous, stressed out graduate!  They kept me sane and put up with my slightly freaked out behavior!  They delivered me safely to the line-up area, where I found my section.  The graduates in my program were the last ones to enter the stadium and we had a great bird’s eye view of the proceedings:


It took about an hour to read off all the names and I was 14th from the end!  After waiting so long, it seemed to go by in a blur!  All I could think of was, "Please God, don’t let me trip or embarrass myself!"  You’ll be happy to know that I did neither. 

Afterward it was all over but the smiling:


That’s my brother-in-law Phil, his wife Debbie (a new knitter) and my nieces Abbie and Carrie.


The Proud Hubby (who incidentally got a Certificate of Achievement at the reception the night before for all of his support).


And last, but not least, the patient babysitters – Jan and her daughter Krissie.  I would not have been there without Jan, who encouraged me from the first and was my greatest cheerleader.  Also with us was my sister, Claudia, who somehow managed to evade all photo opportunities! 

The drive home was long, but we arrived home safely.  Today will be spent just relaxing and visiting with my parents, who will be here until Wednesday.  I’ve taken a few days off to recuperate.  The one thing I will NOT be doing?  Studying!!!!