Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday All Day

It's time to play catch up again and show you what I did a few days ago. First up is the card I made out of the ATC I already showed you.

I also made this card a few days ago. Perhaps you can tell from the photo; I made this one with the fold on the right, suitable for cards written in Hebrew. I like to keep a stock of cards handy. Liat has a lot of friends, and each and every single one of them has a birthday. It's very useful to have a supply ready to go.

Before I show you the third card I made recently, I'll update you on everything else. I have done only a little bit of knitting lately - just can't seem to get motivated. At the very least, I should finish up that Shetland Shorty top for Liat. Maybe I will get that out tonight and make myself work on it.

Meital finished school today and is very happy to be on summer vacation at long last. She and I have all kinds of plans for the summer, including "summer school" - working on reading and writing in English, working on my reading in Hebrew (!), doing art and swimming. Should be fun and keep both of us out of trouble.

The girls and I gave Avi a surprise birthday party on Saturday. I invited three couples over for coffee and cake, and then proceeded to ask two of the women to make the cakes! No way I could surprise Avi if I made a cake here at home. He was completely surprised; the first time ever, he later told me. We had a wonderful time, and I was delighted to see how much he enjoyed himself.

Tomorrow I'm planning two big projects. First, I am going to tackle the carpet on the stairs. I think this is going to be a very tough job, but it will be wonderful when it is done. Second, I am going to sign up at a premium genealogy website so that I will have access to all kinds of useful information. Paying for the service means I need to get serious and really do the research, and not let several days go by without even thinking about it. I hope to learn a lot in a relatively short period of time, then cancel my membership at the end of the time period for which I will be paying. I realize that people spend years doing this sort of work, and I have no doubt I will continue to research, too. But I am trying to limit the amount I want to know, for now anyway, and see how much I can discover about a relatively small group of people. Besides, the farther back I go, the fewer relatives I have in the U.S.A., so at some point I will have to search other databases anyway.

Okay, now for the third card. This one is a bit risque, though definitely not indecent. Just a warning, in case any of you prefer not to look. Nothing on display that you wouldn't see at the beach. Just so you know.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Purple Prose

I played around with that basic baby tee pattern I showed you a few days ago, and this is the result. No particular baby in mind, I just thought it would be a good idea to finish up some stash yarn, and have a baby garment ready and waiting should the need for one arise.

Staying in the purple theme, I saw that over on Think Monday, Think ATC this week's challenge is to use a ticket on an ATC. I knew I had some tickets purchased awhile back from Collage Stuff, so I decided to see what I could come up with. This is the result. My word stamp came out a bit blurry (I think the ink bled), so I went over the words with a gold paint pen. Not sure whether that helped or not, but in person it is a bit easier to read. It says, "Are we having fun yet?" I thought it went perfectly with the pouty little sweet baby face! The word stamp is by River City Rubber Works, the other stamps are by Close to My Heart, the ticket and the little girl are from Collage Stuff, and the flower is a sticker I purchased at my local art shop. I have since made this ATC into a standard sized (4.35" x 5.5") greeting card, so that I can send it out to someone. I am not much in the mood for ATC swaps lately, but I am happy to mail out greeting cards to people.

I've also been working on some other stamping projects that I hope to submit to Rubberstampmadness Magazine. There's also a rather risque collage I've been putting together, again trying to use up stamping/collage stash. That will probably get made into a card, also.

I have worked a little on Liat's Shetland Shorty, but haven't made much progress. I got the measurements I needed to continue with my niece's sock, but haven't touched it. I started a dishcloth, again mostly in order to use up yarn stash, rather than from any burning desire to have more dishcloths.

And that's about all that's new around here. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Do You Know the Way to Stamp O'Say?

Sorry, bad pun (my favorite kind).

I realized that probably one reason for my dissatisfaction with my knitting is that it is hot and humid, and I am more in the mood to stamp than to knit.

Here is the card (and matching envelope) I sent to my mother for her birthday. I hope she gets it before her special day. I kinda sorta left things a wee tiny little bit late.

I have stamped a whole bunch of other things in the last couple of days, and I've even worked on the poor, nearly forgotten Altered Barbie. She will, I suspect, soon be finished. Keep an eye on this space for the Big Reveal.

Or not.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Not Feeling the Love

I don't think there's much more stressful to me than feeling out of sorts with my knitting. Right now, that's where I am.

I'm still suffering anxiety attacks over the knee sock for my niece. I suspect the pattern I've been following isn't all that great, and that the socks will be too tiny. I finally got around to doing a little math, and was shocked to see that with the gauge I have (8.5 stitches per inch) it will be waaaay too small/tight to fit around my niece's (or anyone else over the age of ten's) calf. Gulp!

Liat's Shetland Shorty seems to be about the right length when placed on her back, but according to the pattern it's still too short. Also according to another little bolero top she has and loves. Need to double check. Been putting it off.

I started another little baby top in pink and purple, and it's awfully cute. Liat has already claimed it (since it's a just-in-case baby item, it may well sit in a drawer until needed...). But, I just don't feel like working on it.

My Coronet hat is wonderful, but I don't feel like working on that, either.

This kind of thing happens every once in awhile. Part of me wants to "cure" the problem by casting on for something new, but nothing is really calling to me. I know what I should do is double check the top for Liat, double check the sock measurements, and get back to work on what's already on the needles. Meanwhile, I have been doing some genealogy research and playing a lot of Text Twist on Yahoo! Games.

Just pathetic.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Baby Tee

I just finished up this little baby tee shirt. It was an easy, fast knit. Next time I make this pattern, I am going to play around a bit with color or perhaps stitch patterns. This will likely become a staple in my baby-knitting repertoire.

Aside from leaving off the gratuitous advertising of the original, I used a thinner yarn and size 3.75mm needles, which gave me a gauge of 22 stitches to 4", or a 15" chest. The original pattern is made with worsted weight yarn and size 6 US needles (4mm) and is supposed to result in a 20" chest.

After the little romper and booties I made for the last baby boy in the family, Avi feels this shirt isn't quite "enough." I will see if I have time to make a pair of matching socks. Shorts or a diaper cover would be cute, but I hate mixing and matching patterns to make a set: I'm always afraid they won't come out the same size.

Meanwhile, the back of Liat's Shetland Shorty is nearly done and I hope to make a good start on the right front over the weekend.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Reality Check

Well, the bad news is it is very unlikely I will finish Liat's Shetland Shorty top by tomorrow night (luckily, she is a very patient and understanding person). I am less than halfway done with the upper back, then need to do both fronts and the trims around the armholes and around the front. I will try, but it's not looking good.

The good news is, Avi and I finally got around to starting a major home improvement project. Awhile ago, Liat was diagnosed as being allergic to dust mites (and I assume they truly aren't all that healthful for anyone). Since then, Avi and I decided we would take up all the wall-to-wall carpeting in our home (and there is alot of it!). We planned that we would do the work in stages, always on Wednesdays, since the larger garbage truck that picks up tree branches, broken furniture and other large objects comes around on Thursday mornings.

Yesterday morning Avi had a meeting, but I got started. We had planned to start in what we call The Office, so while he was gone I took out everything I could lift. I pulled the carpet strips off of the baseboards (that's how they do things here, she says with a shrug) and tried lifting up a corner of the carpet, to see if there were wooden strips with tacks in them holding down the carpet. Luckily for us, there weren't. The carpet and pad were merely glued onto the marble floor around the perimeter of the room.

Avi came home and cut away the carpet and padding, which I dragged out to the curb. Then I got down on my knees (on one of those cushioned gardening pads) and set to work scraping off all the dried glue and crumbs of padding. It took me a couple of hours. After awhile, I switched to sitting cross legged on the floor, to give a whole new set of muscles a reason to complain. Avi couldn't tolerate the smell of the glue thinner (it made him dizzy) but it didn't bother me a bit. Then he came in and washed the floor.

I think it looks pretty good! I worked darn hard on that room, and boy do I ever have the aching back, hips, legs, arms and shoulders to prove it!

Next time, we'll attack the stairs and the upstairs hallway. I have already dubbed this the summer of home improvement, and there are quite a few other projects on my To Do list. It will feel great to finally accomplish things we've been talking about doing for so long.

The only downside is, of course, a loss of prime knitting hours.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fetching, Finished

I am way behind schedule here, and I apologize! I finished the Fetching wristwarmers a few days ago, but our computer situation has been in an uproar, so I am only just getting around to posting. The pattern is available for free on and the yarn I used was acrylic from the stash. I mistakenly added five extra rounds to the plain ribbed portion on the first wristwarmer, so I made the second to match. I actually think the extra length will be a good thing during the cold South Dakota winters. These were a fun, quick, easy knit (and I learned a new technique!) and I will probably make more of them.

This makes 8 pairs of mittens/wristwarmers for the Reservation. Now that I have completed the requested amount for this challenge, I am going to gradually make more to add to the box, which does not need to be mailed out until September.

Right now I am working on the Shetland Shorty (from the new Knitty) for Liat, who asked me if it could be ready for Friday night (!). What do you suppose I told her? Yup, you got it. So I'm focussing on that for now. I've also got a cute little baby tee shirt on the needles, but that is nearly done and doesn't need to be finished until Sunday.

I got a new computer and printer last weekend, but the adjustment period is being more difficult than I'd expected. For one thing, I think there may be a virus on the computer (it is only new-to-me, it was Avi's for a few months), so I am trying not to use it. I don't know when our computer situation will be straightened out, because our friend and computer guy is on vacation until early July. So for now I am back to using Meital's computer, which I am trying to do while she's in school so as not to inconvenience her.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


There I was on Sunday, knitting away on the knee sock, obsessing over the approaching short row heel.

My friend Lizzie suggested I consider the possibility of an afterthought heel. I have seen photos of afterthought heels, the kind of photo where the sock is folded so that the toe is flat and the heel looks more like a codpiece (warning, somewhat graphic pictures on that link) than anything one would want to put on a sock. I dismissed that idea out of hand.

To soothe my troubled spirits, I worked on the Fetching wristwarmer. Followed the instructions blindly, then looked down to see this:

Hmmm... Here I have knit a few stitches with waste yarn, then knit them again with the working yarn and continued on around. The instructions tell me to go back later and pick up those stitches on the waste yarn, thusly:

and then knit around for a few rounds to form the thumb.


Then, while knitting in the car the other day, I heard Liat say, "I really like those stripes on the sock, Mom." Oh drat. When I get to the dreaded short-row heel, it will mess up my stripes. What to do? Would skipping the short row heel be a cop-out? Wouldn't knitting a different kind of new-to-me heel be just as good as far as furthing my knitterly education goes?

We shall see. That single line of blue stitches is where the codpiece, er I mean afterthought heel, will go.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

New Projects

I've started all new projects recently. Above you see the start of the first toe up knee sock for my niece. Yarn is Regia Nation. I am enjoying all the plain stockinette knitting, but I am worrying about that short row heel soon to appear on my sockly horizon. Tomorrow is the eve of Shavuot, and we will be spending the day and well into the night in Jerusalem. Aside from cleaning, cooking and eating, that means sock knitting. Wish me luck!

This is a progress photo of my first Fetching wristwarmer. So far the pattern is easy and enjoyable. I don't like the way the end (at the fingers) flares out in the photo, so I may try to do something to change that when I get to that point.

And here is the start of my hat. First you knit a cabled band, then join the ends together, pick up stitches all around, and knit the hat up in the round. Kind of like my Samus sweater, except of course that was knit flat.

Now that you've seen that at the moment two of my three projects involve cables, you can see why I am enjoying the stockinette of the socks. That, and the fun of watching the colors change. (Yeah, I know... I need to get out more, right? Phooey!).

And in a return to the theme of Baby Steps, my genealogy research is progressing, but more slowly than I would like. It shouldn't be so hard to find information from American records of the 20th century (and I'm not talking about the fact that census information is only released something like 70 years after the fact). But then, I suppose that the harder I work to find things out, the more I appreciate having the information.

Or something like that.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Baby Steps

I mentioned awhile ago that I was going to be making knee socks for one of my nieces. The pattern I liked the best is done toe up, something I've never tried before. I got kind of clammy and anxious thinking about it, but realized that I didn't want to stagnate in my comfortable little niche, so rather than track down a top down pattern, or try to convert the pattern I liked to top down, I decided I was just going to have to try something new.

Just like I did when I first tried knitting socks, only about 2 years ago.

I thought it prudent to practice first, since I needed to learn two new-to-me things (the toe and the heel) and I didn't (and don't) want to mess up big time on my niece's socks. So I made a practice sock. Sort of like a gauge swatch, where you check to make sure you are getting the proper number of stitches per inch to make a garment that will actually fit.

Here's the toe. I was reasonably pleased with the toe. I ended up using what Wendy Johnson calls the Easy Toe in her article on the subject of toe up socks on Knitty.

Here's the finished sock. I had, as so many have before me, trouble picking up the wrapped stitches on the short row heel. Yup. I've got the traditional Hole Problem. Phooey. Plus I'm not wild about the way the ribbing looks, all stretched out and blah. Now, you know I am a one-sock-at-a-time knitter, and I always finish a pair before moving on to the next pair. Right?

Well, I asked myself if I could bear to spend the time knitting the mate to the practice sock (which, since we're on the subject, looks a little bit, well, little. As in, not fit for human feet kind of little. Don't you agree?). The answer was HECK, NO!

Tune in next time for a progress picture of the Actual First Knee Sock.

Meanwhile, I'll leave you with this:

Mittnz. Pair Number 7. Yes, these were knit with sock yarn on size 2.5mm needles. For Pair Number 8, I am knitting the Fetching wristwarmers from Knitty.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

All Sorts

It's been a busy and productive day here at Bag of Chocolates! First of all, as you can see I finished up Liat's cotton ankle socks (yarn is Sockotta). I then cast on for something new, but I will tell you more about that the next time I post.

I also have been working on my current mitten, and am nearly ready for the decreases at the top of the mitten. Then I'll just need to do the thumb, and that will be pair #7 finished. I'm considering making a pair of Fetching wristwarmers (the Knitty pattern) for the next pair of hand warmer-uppers for the Rez.

In scrapbooking news, I am now working on the last page of Meital's Third Grade layouts (actually, the last two pages are always of summer vacation). I cleaned up my crafts room today, and it looks pretty darn spiffy, if I do say so myself. I threw out a bunch of junk - but not nearly *enough* junk! Further cleaning is definitely needed, but won't be happening any time soon. Tomorrow's projects include weeding/pruning in the front yard and an attempt to remove the wall to wall carpeting in the room we laughingly refer to as The Office.

As for Barbie, she's looking a I have learned that Barbie hair will not absorb dye ink (big surprise, eh? Plastic isn't an absorbent substance, huh? Who'da thunk?). Anyway, as you can see I've got this fairly cool scale thing going on. That came out pretty much as I'd hoped, actually. I still have a way to go but these things take time. Particularly when I am the one doing them. Ahem.

The shells in that little cup are part of the Big Plan. All will be revealed in the fullness of time, my pretties...

Not just baby steps, but strides have been made on the genealogy front, thanks in large part to the kindess of strangers. Posting a question on an e-mail list can work wonders, I've learned. Plus I've managed to get to know a few really wonderful folks who have very kindly offered to help me out. It's so good to be reminded that the world really is full of lovely people.

And filed under fabulous surprises is the fact that the pattern booklet I ordered here on MAY 30 arrived today! It's the Dalegarn Baby book #155. There are some adorable patterns in there, though I imagine it will be awhile before I can start one. I must have been woozy from all the recent births in Avi's family, becuase normally I take at least a month to ponder book purchases, but I saw this and ordered it all in a rush last week. And I'm not sorry, either!

I hope your day has been (or will be, depending on where you live) as fantastic as mine.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

June Already?

It's been awhile, so I thought I'd say "hello" and bring you up to date. Blogger isn't letting me upload photos, which is just as well because I don't have much to show you.

I've been making some progress on Meital's scrapbook. I'm just about done with her third grade year (2005-2006). I'm nearly to the toe decreases on Liat's second sock. And I started a wool hat for myself for next winter. I know, the timing is weird but I thought of it the other day and decided "why not get it done?"

I spent a few hours today trying to do some genealogy research, but only managed to learn one new (to me) fact, the wedding date of one of my grandfather's sisters.

The altered Barbie got some sand and glitter added to her yesterday, but today when I went to check on the ribbon I'd left in a puddle of ink, hoping it would be dyed a lovely bilious green, I saw that it was only an insipid yellow. I've added more green ink and am hoping for the best. Any guesses where I am going with this theme?

Tonight, Liat and her friends Eden and Kfir were further honored, this time by the mayor of our city. In addition, a student from a nearby school, who won the first place prize in the contest, was there. Each student received a framed certificate.

And that's about all I can think of to tell you. Hopefully the glitch with Blogger (I have also been having problems with links located on Yahoo pages, very odd...) will be fixed soon and that I will actually have something to show you.