Yesterday I sat down to finish the Cinnamon Bay Beach Bag/Blanket only to run out of yarn three rows and a cast off from the finish. Now what? I have not bought any yarn since before Christmas and am nearing my goal of knitting only stash yarn for a whole year. I say again, now what? I could just buy another ball (there-by abandoning my stash reduction quest), or I can put the project away to be finished after the holiday (a virtuous but undesirable option). What if I just ask hubby to go buy me the missing ball (that's cheating, right?)? The other option on the table is to advertise my need, for two (just to be safe) balls of Bernat Organic Natural Cotton in Natural, on the KnitList (virtuous and effective). While I think about it, I am going to search my stash of dish cotton in the hopes of finding something that get the job done seamlessly.
P.S. This picture shows most, but not all, of what remains of my stash after giving half of it away before our move, and knitting only from it since the move. Not visible are heavy worsted, bulky, sock, and washcloth cotton. Still, at least it all fits in my office now.
It is so much fun to have Halloween fall on a weekend. The boys are too old for trick or treating but still like to do something special/spooky to celebrate. This year, hubby had to work, so the boys and I took a ride down to the St.Augustine Lighthouse to look for ghosts. As we went during the day, it was not surprising that we did not find any. Still, we had a good time, climbing the tower and roaming the keepers house.
There are 216 steps to the top of the lighthouse. My breathing post-swine is a bit unreliable so I was not sure I would make it to the top but it turned out not to be a problem. My legs, on the other hand, are still screaming two days later.
This was the view half-way up. Luckily, there are benches and window alcoves to rest in periodically. Tween decided that half-way was high enough for him. A surprise since he has been to the top many times before.
Once home, we put on a movie (The Others) and spent the evening handing out candy to the trick or treaters. I thought I would miss TorT-ing with the boys but I really didn't. All I had to do was hold on to Jack while the boys took turns answering the door.
The Cinnamon Bay Beach Blanket/Bag is almost done. I am on the second of four repeats to complete the edging. I was hoping to finish today and head to the beach tomorrow for pictures but it is not meant to be. Tomorrow afternoon is craft group. Maybe I will get it done there.
I have been in love with Amazon's Kindle since it came out. In fact, it has been on my every birthday, anniversary, and Christmas list since it's inception. This year I knew I was going to get it. Hubby was asking questions and suggesting that I might want to compare it to the Sony E-reader. Not only did I do that, but I included B&N's Nook in my comparisons. The Nook rocks (wireless, color, touchscreen, bigger capacity, NPR liked it, and...and... it takes PDF's so that I can load knitting patterns on it). I let hubby know and relaxed. This year, I would love my gift.
Then, the unexpected and unfortunate news. Due to the merging to Hubby's employer with another financial institution, Hubby will be a paycheck short in December (ouch!). The one check he does get will be short because a month of health benefits will be taken (again, ouch!). Christmas will be very, very lean for all of us this year.
However, with hubby's blessing (he is a really, really, good guy), I sold the last of my old (read that marriage #1) jewelry and pre-ordered the Nook. November 30th is the day. I am so excited.
My next order of business is to figure out the logistics of making this a terrific (if lean) Christmas season for hubby and our boys (and maybe my Mom if she comes to visit for the holidays).
New dishes have been on our to do list since we moved in Feb. We have been trying to find smaller size dinner dishes that we like with not much luck. Today I found these from Thinnerware. See the pretty design? That is a nicely camouflaged way of keeping track of portions. For instance, the big flower is a 1/2 cup portion and the small one is a 1/4 cup portion. The double small flowers equal a single serving of meat. How cool is this?
No only that but by visiting www.sosweetgiveaways.com, you (and hopefully me) can win a two person service. I am hoping for Caribbean Blue.
My tween has the swine flu. We saw the doctor yesterday. She prescribed Tamaflu and upped his usual asthma meds. Although, he is still pretty miserable, his fever is much lower, and he seems more himself. I am hoping that his turns out to be a mild case.
My teenager, on the other hand, says that he will not be catching it because he is too busy to be sick. To his distress, I have been taking his temp just in case fate is unaware of his plans.
What to do, besides blogging, while I sit here watching my baby breath. I could watch TV until my brain jells (or not). I have an almost finished pair of socks, an almost finished Sea Silk scarf, and an almost finished Cinnamon Bay beach blanket/bag. Why am I not knitting? I have no idea. That ever so rare thing has happened. I am just not in the mood to knit (Eeeek!)
I also have a Bali Bag kit languishing. I made this one for my mother at a class last week. Given that I have never sewn before, I am awfully pleased with the results and, now, would like one for myself. It is, however, an all day project and I am not in the mood for that either.
I am just feeling funky today. Maybe it is the sick child or, heaven forbid, maybe I am coming down with the plague myself, but I just don't feel like doing much of anything.
Check it out. After ripping out twice, I have finally finished my Feb Lady Sweater. Despite the fact that it was way too hot, I wore it yesterday and it looked great. I think this is my favorite sweater that I have ever made for myself. The only thing I changed from the pattern were the sleeves (short) and the button holes(smaller). Friend, Nancy, says the buttons are too small and I am starting to agree with her, so I may yet change those.
Last night, I moodily perused my stash (I need more yarn) and knitting books, and just could not come up with a combination of yarn and pattern that I liked. This morning, though, I woke up and knew just what I am going to knit next. The Cinnamon Bay beach bag blanket from Knitting in the Sun.
I have been feeling ill, on and off, most of the summer. Yesterday, I met with my Dr to discuss the situation. I did not have a mini-stroke nor is it likely that I am experiencing a recurrence of Meniers Disease. For me these were the scariest possibilities and I am very relieved not to be going there. The problem, it seems, is low blood pressure coupled with hypoglycemia, exacerbated by stress and lack of sleep. Part of the Dr's "prescription" is to get back to my daily walks on the beach. What better to knit on the beach, than a beach bag/blanket.
I have some Bernat Organic Cotton in my stash that I am going to use for this project. I am going to alternate balls of Hemp with balls of Prairie Rose. I considered, briefly, falling off the yarn diet wagon but with only three months to go before I hit the anniversary of my last yarn purchase, it seems silly to give up now.
It seems that there is a costly and time consuming process that comes with starting a business using a name other than one's own. Consequently, I am changing my shop (and blog) name from Glitz & Giggles to Miri Knits. As G&G was a fairly short lived blog, for the sake of continuity, I have cut and pasted the whole darn thing.
Have you been following the drama over Pres. Obama's upcoming speech to school children? I have to hope that everyone who has expressed an opinion, has actually read the text of the speech. I have, and far from being objectionable, it mirrors one of the most important lessons for young people to learn. We are, each of us, responsible for our actions and the attendant consequences. To my relief and delight our local schools are going to show the speech live. Children whose parents object will not be forced to watch (fair enough).
It is the drama itself that mystifies me. Is it that the angry parents did not vote for Pres. Obama? I did not vote for Pres. Bush Jr., but when he gave a similar speech I had no objection to my children hearing it at school. If, like me, you expect your children to become informed, thinking adults, then this sort of thing makes for valuable (fun?) dinner time conversation.
Please, before pitching a fit, read the speech. Consider letting your children participate, whether or not you agree, and then discussing the whys at a family dinner. This country needs more thoughtful, articulate adults. Wouldn't it be cool to know that you helped provide for that need.
The following is the text of President Obama's planned remarks, as posted on the White House's Web site:
Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.
I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.
I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.
Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."
So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.
Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.
I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.
I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.
I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.
And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.
Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.
Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.
And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.
You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.
We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.
Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.
I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.
So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.
But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.
Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.
Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.
That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.
Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.
I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.
And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.
Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.
That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.
Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.
But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.
No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.
And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.
The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.
It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.
So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?
Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
A few days ago, I treated my self to an armload of knitting books from B&N. My favorite of the bounch is Knitting in the Sun by Kristi Porter. Not only are the materials suited to warm climes but the patterns themselves are items that are meant to be worn during the summer season and/or in perpetually warm climates. Thanks to the pattern choices and grogeous photos, I can really see myself, and my local friends/family, wearing these things.
It was pretty impossible to pick a single favorite pattern, so here are my top three:
by Stephanie Japel.
I can really see this baby over a tank and soft pants or a nice tee and jeans. Here in N. FL, winter weather can be unpredictable. So layers are the way to go.
by Carol Feller
This picture does not tell the whole story. Pretty though it is to sit on, the really cool part is that, when you are ready to go home, it becomes a really pretty bag. We walk on the beach every night after dinner. Frequently, I tire out before Hubby and boys. So I sit on the beach and knit while they walk on. Inevitably, when they return to me, there are lots of shells and formerly living things to be taken home. I love the idea of gathering up their treasures and my knitting (which I keep in a waterproof boating zip lock because I am no fool) in my "blanket" for he treck back to the car.
by Janine Le Cras
I love a nice shawl. Despite living in NJ for 25 years, I have always preferred shawls to sweaters. I attribute this to genetics. As a Puerto Rican transplant, my ancestors would have had more use for shawls. Or maybe they are just easier to fit, who knows? This lovely confection is knit in two pieces and then grafted down the middle.
I started to write that I would surely make the Cinnamon Bay first; but then I thought that the Bordeaux would be a better first item; but then I thought that the Convertible Dress would be finished just in time for the cooler weather. Okay, I have no idea which one I will start first.
Here is the thing. I just don't have enough to say to support a knitting blog, a store blog, Facebook, and Twitter (a surprise for those who know me in the flesh, since I am rarely at a loss for words). I do know exactly who laughs (besides my friends), when I make plans. Still, I have come up with a new one. I am closing Knitter's Dream (www.knittersdream.blogspot.com) and will, hopefully, pour all of my thoughts (knitting and not) into this one. So, without further ado, this is what I have been up to since I abandoned you last.
I have opened and closed my Ebay store. My handmade items were not selling at all on Ebay. What is working for me there is flipping designer handbags and I do not need to pay for a store to do that. I myself am a bag-a-holic. Everything I sell is either NWT or in excellent condition (meaning that picky, picky me would carry them). This is less fun than it is expedient. For now, my Ebay profits are supporting my Etsy store (including a new sewing machine!). I am hoping to build the Etsy site to the point where I can abandon Ebay all together.
Etsy, on the other hand, is fun. I love, love, love selling things I have made myself. So far, I have been sticking to headbands and barrettes but the silk scarves are on their way and the new sewing machine has me dreaming of the perfect handbag.
I worried, when we moved to FL, that my knitting would suffer in the heat. But that has not been the case. We are at Disney often but never without my traveling sock. I have been trying ot stick to one big project at a time (a first for me). My most recent endeavor has been a February Lady Sweater (www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/february-lady-sweater). Unfortunately, once finished it was way too big (better than too small but still inconvenient). I think FL has changed me. Instead of throwing it in a corner (neatly of course), or giving it to a friend, I have decided to rip it out and make it over. Am I getting older and wiser, or just losing my marbles?
That is it for now. I have a bag to mail and a sweater to rip.
For years I have been told that I should sell the things I make. Up to now, I have been hesitant to do so mostly because I did not want my play to become work. For whatever reason, I am finally ready to make the jump. At least for now, I won't be selling my knitted items (For me, knitting is Zen. I want to keep it that way). What I will be selling are my hand-sewn or woven work. To begin with, that will include tote bags, keychains, headbands & barrettes. Pretty quickly I hope to add hand-painted silk scarves.
So far, I have started this blog, bought my domain (www.glitzandgiggles.com), and opened stores on both Etsy.com and Ebay.com. Assuming all goes well on these sites, I am planning to add button type keychains and compact mirrors as well as embroidered baby items (I will need a new sewing machine for that).
Generally this is meant to be a knitting blog but I was so touched by my hubby's 9/11 post that I wanted to post it (with permission).
This is the first 9/11 I've spent in a state that was not one of the 9/11 states. It seems to me that people in other parts of the country just don't get it. Activities were scheduled at the kids' schools, a lot of people flew their flags at full mast, fundraisers at work for charities other than veterans/survivors, and no moment of silence observed at work. (This is in a company that lost employees on 9/11.)
Maybe I'm sensitive because I lived in an area and worked in an industry that was disproportionately affected by 9/11. Now I live in an area where a lot of people with "Never Forget" bumper stickers have evidently forgotten.
I found this so poignant that I wanted to share it.