Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Miracle on 34th Street
We spent our Thanksgiving at home this year.   Usually we go to my brother's and this year we could have gone to a big Thanksgiving celebration at church, but Hubby really wanted to spend a nice quiet day at home.    I was kind of disappointed to miss the church dinner but now that most of the day has past, I feel like this was the perfect plan.   It just seemed like everything turned out just right.  Hubby cooked the turkey which was absolutely luscious and I made the sides which all managed to be done at the same time.  Desert did not work out (Hubby forgot to pick it up yesterday on his way home), but somehow it did not seem to matter.   I just made everyone their favorite lattes (2 PSLs and a peppermint mocha) and all was well.

Now we are all snuggled up eating Turkey soup and watching Miracle on 34th Street (a Thanksgiving tradition).  In honor of the day, let me leave you with today's gratitude list.

  1. Hubby - My Hubby is a prince among men.   Not only did he let me sleep in, but he cooked the turkey and picked up and dropped off my mother so that she could join us.   The thing is that this is not unusual.   He is a lovely, gentle soul who really does make my life nicer.
  2. My boys - Warning: I am not remotely objective.   I am incredibly proud of my sons.   They are both smart, kind, socially aware young men.  I love that they both actively strive to make the world a better place.
  3. Our home - We are undoubtedly blessed to have a nice house in a safe neighborhood, but we have more than that.   We have a home.   The kind of home that comes from the love, & respect that the residents have for each other.
  4. Peace -  I have not always lived in safe or peaceful circumstances.   It has been a central desire of mine to make sure that my children do (at least, when they are with me).   I love that none of us need fear each other.   Disputes happen (we are human), but yelling is the exception and name calling is very, very rare.  Physical expressions of anger are practically unknown.
  5. Knitting - I have a bumper sticker that says "I Knit So That I Don't Kill People".   A bit extreme, I know, but really not that far off of the mark.   Knitting brings me peace when I am upset or overwhelmed.   I believe strongly that everyone needs their knitting (although I do acknowledge that knitting is not everyone's knitting).
  6. Books - Reading is my refuge.   A good book can't be beat for sheer escapism.   Even as a child, I treated books as my cave.   I grew up in a very volatile home.   When the going got rough and rowdy  I would retreat to my room with a book to escape.  I was, and sometimes still am, a book a day reader.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Simple Joys Shawl

Simple Joys Shawl
Yay!   The Simple Joys Shawl is finished.   The pattern has been written & revised.   Pictures have been taken, and it is available for download on Ravelry.  

While I was feeling inspired, I also touched up and reformatted my Simple Baby Hat pattern, so that it can be downloaded as a PDF from Ravelry (as opposed to linking to the relevant blog post).

We the denizens of Chez Serenity are going through some tough times.   Hubby's job is at imminent risk (don't you just love outsourcing?), I have been ill, and we are deeply in debt.   It is pretty clear at this point that moving to FL was financial suicide.   Certainly there are jobs for Hubby back up North but we can't afford another move (or maybe we can't afford not to), and I moved my mother down here last summer.   We cannot in good conscience leave her here alone, so if we move, she moves, which just adds to the financial burden (not mention the physical & emotional one).  

All is not lost.  We are blessed to have each other, our sons (both healthy and doing well in school), and a safe dry home.  If we sold our house, we would probably break even (not optimal but way better than being underwater as so many are).  There are opportunities (even if a move would be problematic and poorly timed).

Truthfully, we have no idea what we are going to do.   My part is this.   I am going to monetize this blog.  I have not published a single pattern since we moved to FL four years ago (too, busy, overwhelmed, sad, sick, apathetic).   It is time for that to end.   The Simple Joys Shawl is up.   I have a lace shawl and a felted tote bag just waiting to be written up and made available for sale.  I can asses my clothes & handbags for things that might do well at a consignment shop.   It is my sincere hope that I can help make things better.  Heaven knows that I have participated in bringing us to this point.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Beth is bald & Lucy has a hat.

As knitters we are all familiar with those events when a need and a pattern fall into our laps at just the same moment.    That is what happened to me the Saturday before last.   

There I was drinking my morning coffee while surfing the web, when a friend asked her posse (that's what T1 calls my circle of female friends) our advice on a hair cut.   She was considering going short to show of her curls.   She has gorgeous eyes so this sounded like a good plan to me.    However, another friend suggested that she go a step further and shave her head for St. Baldrick's.    

The St. Baldrick's Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity that raises funding for promising research  into treatments and cures for childhood cancers .  Volunteers, like my friend Beth, shave their heads in solidarity with kids fighting cancer.  They are then assigned a fundraising page where their family & friends can donate money to support this important research.  "It’s easy. Just sign up, send your fundraising page to people you know and ask them for donations to support your shave—it’s similar to a walkathon, but without the blisters".

No kidding, as Beth messaged back that, that was exactly what she was going to do, there appeared the Lucy Hat, via the latest issue of Knitting Daily, in my email box.   In that moment, I knew that Beth was going to shave her head for a children's charity and I was going to make her a hat.

The first challenge was finding the perfect yarn.   The patterns calls for wool but we live in NE Florida and wooly days are few and far between.   However, we do get chilly days, so a bit of warmth was called for.  Some roaming about A Stitch in Time and we (T2 was helping) found just the thing, which apparently I lost the label to (Susan helped me pick it out).  I do know that it was a heavy worsted cotton acrylic blend.   Knit on a US 5 needle it came out firm but not stiff at about 5sts to the inch. 

I was hoping to finish it in time for church last week but I dropped a stitch Friday night and seriously messed up what should have been an easy fix.   It was easier to rip it out and start over.   Besides, I was not thrilled with the blue main color/grey contrasting color combo.   I restarted it with the grey as the main color and liked it quite a bit better.  It really is an deceptively easy pattern so just a little care guaranteed that my second attempt was fast and easy.

I knit the smaller of the two sizes around  (stitches) but the larger of the two sizes deep (rows).   It fit me perfectly.  I have not seen it on Beth yet (I was too sick to go to church this morning but my lovely Hubby was kind enough to deliver it).  She sent a message this afternoon saying that she loves it.   I am so glad.

If you want to find out more about St. Baldrick's or, dare I hope, donate to the cause, you will find the relevant links just under the photo at the top of the page (A stock photo because I forgot to get a picture before sending Hubby on his way this morning).

ETA: Yay!  Beth sent a pic of her in her Lucy Hat.
ETA 10Nov12: I found the the ball band.   The yarn is called DungarEASE by Knit One Crochet Too.