Thursday, March 31, 2011

Where are they now? Day 4 2KCBWDAY4

Ah, reflecting on old knits!  This one is a tough one.  Where did they go?  Considering that I learned to knit 50 years ago, I have made more garments than I can remember.   Who even has pics of stuff I knit ages ago?

Miss P, who is 8 1/2 years old, got most of the baby knits.  The second I heard that her mom was pregnant, I went into knitting overdrive.  I started with teensy knits and worked up to knits for 2 year olds.  Do I have any pics?  Yeah, right.  Who even blogged 8 years ago?  Alex, who is almost 11, got lots of hand-knits, too.  Do I have any pics?  Nope.  After those two, I was done with little kid knits, so the poor deprived other 3 grands got a Baby Surprise Jacket at birth and that was it.  Now, of course, I'd love to knit little baby things, but no babies in sight.  We may be done.  On the other hand, we do have 2 year old Little Lili.  But I want to do baby gear, not toddler gear.

I will tell you the story of my first knit, done when I was a senior in high school.  It was a vest, knitted side to side and all done in garter stitch.  Back and front the same.  You did a section for one side, the middle and the other side.  So I used 2 colors of some worsted wt yarn.  I remember that it took me forever.  My grandma told me that at the rate I was going, I'd be her age by the time I finished (and she was in her late 80's).  But I did finish it, and wore it too.  Pics?  You have got to be kidding.

So that's my story, no pics, only words.  Snore.

Scrabblequeen and Kepanie - I remember it because my grandmother was convinced that I would never finish it.  But I did!

scrapperjen - I agree totally.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tidy mind, tidy stitches - Day3 2KCBWDAY3

Tidy mind?  Tidy stitches?  Huh?  They can't be talking about me, the most disorganized woman in the knitting world.  Tidy, my foot.  The miracle is that I actually do finish these babies sooner or later.  Some are way later.  Some get frogged.

My method of organization is to have a project bag, plastic bag, large humongous plastic bag, paper bag with handles, baskets for every project I've started.  Snort.  Howl with laughter.  No, I do have each and every project in its separate container, and occasionally I include my notes and charts.  The problem is that I have too many bags.

Brace yourselves. Here come the pics.  

And this doesn't include the projects in bags in plastic tubs that I may or may not finish. I'm going to do a load of laundry and hide while you are snickering.

To all of you who are as disorganized as me:  Isn't it grand?  You never know what you might find in any project bag!  I do sort of know what I'm working on at the moment.  At least I know that those bags are not in my tubs. 

Vivianne - I don't remember what's in each bag.  Given however that at least 3-4 are current and need to get done, I know that those bags are on top of other bags or in the scrimmage on the chair (4th pic from the top), although that's not always true.  Memory?  What's memory?  I don't remember.

fig - I guess those bags do organize it a bit.  At least there is one project/bag. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Skill - Day2 2KCBWDAY2



What have I learned in the last year?  Gosh, so much.  I'm always learning new skills.  Every time I design something, I also learn something.  If I'm not doing something new, then I get bored, and I like each garment I knit to have some sort of challenge for me.  Keeps the gray matter working.

I love designing.  I love finding a yarn I've dyed, and then turning that bit of string into something pretty or elegant or practical.  I've been on a shawl binge for more than a year, and I'm still learning and trying things out.  

Here are some pics of stuff I've designed.  I have 2 designs that are mysteries because they are for the Light and Dark Lace club, but I can tell you that I learned more than a minimal amount with them.

Here's what I am working on:  actually writing up the design.  I really hate writing it all up, but it's just gotta get done.  So with a lot of cursing, I plod away on it.  Why is it so easy to design and such a pain in the tush to write it up?

CraftyCripple - You hit the nail on the head.  That is exactly the issue.  Two different uses of the brain.  It's a real challenge! 

Sarah - That's the first shawl for a Lace club I'm doing with Roxanne of ZenYarn Garden.  The challenge on that one was to go from the bottom to the top without running out of yarn.  I did it, too!

knitabulous - It would cost a fortune to outsource it, and anyhow, only I can read my notes and charts!

Kasia &Blogger scrapperjen - Thank you. 
Kepanie - Hard work!  I often design on the needle as I go along.  I work up graphs and try them out.  I frog a lot.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Tale of Two Yarns - 2KCBWDAY1

Is this not cool?  Bloggers all over the globe are participating, so this gives all of us a chance to find new knitting and crocheting blogs.  Such fun!

Today's topic is A Tale of Two Yarns (2KCBWDAY1)  Ignore that code thingie.  It's supposed to like up to something in Google if I have it right. And if I don't, somebody email me.

I'm going to talk about 2 yarns that I love.  One I dye, the other I buy.  The one I buy is Encore DK.  Yep, mostly acrylic but you can't beat it for blankies that will get dragged around or baby gear.  The stuff is indestructible, comes in lots of colors, cheap, and is pretty, really pretty.  Yep, there's only a bit of wool in it, but that bit seems to predominate over the acrylic.  I"m not a yarn snob; I've been knitting for 50 years (gasp) and have learned that different yarns have different uses.  You wouldn't use a microwave oven to grill burgers, and blankets that get schlepped around need to go into a washing machine.  I could use superwash wool I suppose, but this yarn is so darn handy to find and works so well.  Eh, it's great for a dyer to get lazy and not always dye her yarns.

Here it is from Friday's post. I got another hexie done yesterday.  It's soft, cuddly, and I really really love it.  It doesn't pretend to be elegant, just a fine acrylic yarn.

I'll admit that it isn't what I would use for a brand new baby.  Too woolly for that, but when the munchkin gets a bit older, and runs around and gets dirty big time, bingo!  here's the yarn to use. 

Yarn I dye:  I love all the yarn I dye.  I don't sell anything that I can't or won't use (so no alpaca because it itches me, and I just can't wear it).  But here's my latest love:  Rachel yarn.  This one is 100% SW merino 100g approx 400 yards with a nice little twist to it.

This is the fichu made from the yarn above.

Socks that I'm wearing at the moment and a crochet scarf.

What I love about this yarn is that it is wool but feels like soft cotton in the hand.  It's my current craze and I can't get enough of it.  Plus it dyes like a dream.

And those are two yarns that I love.

PandaBearofDoom - Thanks!  It started out as a retirement hobby, and then grew into a business.  Who every would have thunk it?  Off to check out your blog.
nursenikkiknits - I know loony Grammies who knit in cashmere for their precious babies.  Just what a mom of little ones has time for!  And there's nothing like a white cashmere baby sweater with baby upchuck on it!
CrochetBlogger - Speaking of different uses for different yarns, I have a confession:  I did knit Miss P (the grand who live in MN) a shawl in 50/50 merino/silk last year for her birthday.  Just because she wanted it.  No, silly, I didn't spend a fortune on a shawl for an 8 year old, but I get the yarn at wholesale, so it was quite affordable.  I have no idea on whether she has worn it since, but I had fun doing it.
AND to every one else who has responded - Thanks for all your lovely words. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

When the weather gets warmer, I start to work on crochet blankies!

 Back asswards, that's for sure, but there is something about those longer days with clear bright sunlight that makes me want to crochet.  I have a bunch of unfinished crochet blankies and one knit blankie that I started last summer and put away in Oct., and I dug them out the other day.  They are all going to be blankies just because the thought of making a full cover for a queen size bed or a big afghan is more than I can handle.  I get bored very very easily, and besides I love startitis, so small lap covers these are all going to be.

So, here's the first one:  this is done with Encore DK weight which is my favorite blankie weight.  Easy on my wrists, and yet it doesn't take forever.  OK, it takes forever, but not as in fingering weight forever.  This one is just chugging along.  It's a perfect size for a lap cover, and it'll get finished when I'm totally bored with it.

Then there's the Linus blankie that I started for the Linus project.  It's a good thing that those babies have lots of other blankies available to them because at the rate I'm going, they'll be parents of their own babies by the time I'm finished.  I've decided to do a row/day in the hopes of finishing it before my grands have their own grands.

Here's the African flower one that I started at the end of July last summer.  This one is a keeper.  I love the colors.  Not practical, but then it is totally machine washable, and if it gets dirty, then it gets dirty.  I did those 6 hexies while I was visiting the MN relatives, and then put it away.  When I dug it out, I thought:  hey, this is pretty.  Might be nice if I finished it some century or other.

Here's the Ten Stitch Blankie that I'm doing in Silk Garden.  This one is knit and is a pure pleasure and great mindless TV knitting project.  You just motor along on it.  I might finish it one of these days.

It seriously needs a good wash and blocking but you get the idea.

Every year around this time, I wander into Michaels looking for the ultimate cheapy yarn, and get sucked in by some, come home, start a grannie, and then dislike it.

This is so not calling me.  In the skein, the colors just sang together, but here they look blah.   Ah well, it cost me very little since 2 of the skeins were on sale.  And anyhow, this is worsted weight, which I don't like to work on, so why I bought it in the first place is anybody's guess.  Give me good old DK weight, not worsted.
I don't think I'll do any more on this.

I have 2 lovely shawls that I can't show you plus one in process, and I can't show you that either.  They are all for the Light & Dark Lace Club and are mystery shawls.  You'll see them one of these months.

The skinny yarn sweater is proceeding very slowly.  I'm sooooo sick of it.  I've done the whole thing in lace, including the sleeves, and I'm tired of the pattern big time.  I'm going to do 3/4 sleeves with a bit of a ruffle on the bottom of the sleeves just to finish it before the end of time.  One sleeve is almost there, and then I'll do the second one, put a finishing touch on the neckline, wash and block it, and then that's that!

On the Mommie front, she seems to be aging very quickly now.  I swear that there is a change in her from one week to the next.  I've hired her morning companion to help her out before, during and after dinner, getting her ready for bed, and that's a very good idea.  I do wish Medicare covered some of this.  It's so much cheaper hiring an aide than paying for a nursing home.  And she's at home here with her own furniture and apartment.  The staff is the greatest staff in the world!  and I mean that with all my heart.  They want to keep her here until she passes away, so that's our goal.  But she is so fragile and old.  She's so much older than she was on her birthday on Nov. 4.  Clearly she's winding down, but I still bet that she'll make it to her 97th birthday.  For all her fragility and fuzziness, she's still one tough old lady.  The physical therapist came yesterday morning to see her, and she refused to get out of bed.  Christina and Evelyn are the only people who can get her up; she fights with everyone else.  It's pretty funny and shows that the core Mommie is still in there.

Thanks to all of you for your lovely encouraging words about elder care.  It's really, really hard, and she doesn't even live with me.  I still think I'm blessed to do it, though.  I love her to pieces.

Have a good weekend, everybody.  Maybe our snow will melt?  Of not.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Poem, yet again.

Here it is!  The Spring Poem

High up, over the tops
Of the feathery grasses, the grasshoppers hop.
They won't eat their suppers,
They will not obey
Their grasshopper mothers and fathers who say:
"Listen my children, this must be stopped.
Now is the time your last hop should be hopped.
So come eat your suppers and go to your beds."
But the little grasshoppers just shake their green heads.
"no, no," the naughty ones say.
"All we have time to do now is to play.
If we are hungry we'll nip at a fly,
Or nibble a blueberry as we go by.
But not now. Now we must hop.
And no one, but no one can make us stop."

The end

Henya add Scrabblequeen - Is this not the silliest spring poem?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Whew, relief!

We have had 3 ER visits in the last 3 weeks with the Mommie.  She's at that stage where she falls a lot, gets confused, has blank moments.  No, this is not all the time, thank goodness, but when you are 96+, that's what can happen.

First ER visit was a small stroke.  They don't refer to these things as TIAs any more.  They did find evidence of a little one in the left side of the brain, and that controls the right side.  So she was really out of it and unresponsive, and the next day, she was just fine.  Had total control of her right side, good strong grip, able to lift her right let up high, etc.  They kept her a few days to check on her but sent her home on Wed.  Whew, relief.

Then on Fri, she was totally out of it, not responsive, basically in blob form.  Back to the ER, where she recovered nicely and no problems.  All the tests were fine, ER doc told us we could take her home, which we did.  Whew, relief.

Next Fri, she was found sitting on the floor in her bathroom.  Responsive but had no idea how she got there.  She does have a very wonky memory, lots of time she remembers little and then other times, she's right on target.  So back to the ER.  This time I went alone, no need for the Hubbo.  And she was just fine!  Not even a bruise.  Competent, with it, although again she didn't remember how she got on the floor.  Was released in about 4 hours with is a really short time for ER visits.  So now she's back home.  Whew, relief.

The hospital has a good out-patient service.  The VN nurse saw her, and so did the physical therapist.  Medicare cover these visits, but only for a little while.  The goal with her residence (which is independent living) and with us is to keep here there as long as possible.  She is very much loved there.  Her room is right outside the dining room.  They help her to the table and bring her back.  She has a wonderful aide who helps her shower and get dressed, and now they think that she could use an additional person from 1-3 in the afternoon.  That aide would keep her company, take her outside when the weather is good, walk with her and her walker, and such.  No medicare help for that, but it would keep her out of the nursing home, and that's what we want to do.  And at the end of the stint, she could help Mom back into bed for a nap, and then at supper time, the ladies would help her up and to the table for dinner.  The evening chef actually puts her to bed on her way out.  When I say that the Charles Bierman home is the best thing going, I really mean it.  I have never seen a more caring and professional group of people.  The care they give the residents goes way beyond what anyone could expect.  They are the tops!

The physical therapist gave us some ideas on making her apartment better for her, and the hospital will send out an occupational therapist for more ideas.  I suspect that the hospital folks want her to go into a nursing home with her falls, but my feeling is that she will fall anywhere, in her apartment or in a nursing home, and she's not ready yet for a wheel chair. 

So that's the Mommie news.  I'm pretty realistic about her condition.  She's befuddled a lot of the time, but she's so well taken care of and loved, and it doesn't particularly bother her.  And as she has said many many times:  she's had a good life and continues to enjoy her life.  Is she the Mommie of old?  No, but she is the Mommie of Now, and that's good enough for me.

ER note for anyone doing the ER tango:  Make sure you always have a book or knitting or crochet with you.  It really makes all that time hanging out bearable.  Trust me on that one.

Yarny news:  In between all the hospital visits, I've been dyeing and knitting.  Most of what I'm knitting, I can't show you because it's all for the Light & Dark Lace club, but here's a pic of the shawl and scarf pattern for the Feb edition of the club.  The patterns won't be sold until June, just to keep them a bit exclusive.  Here's Avira Shawl:

And here's the little Avira scarf that I tossed into the pattern bundle just for the fun of it!

They'll be available for purchase around the beginning of June.
I can't show you anything else; it's all hush hush, but I can tell you that the shawls are pretty!

And here are the reds that I just listed in the Etsy shop.

In order, they are Red, Petunia, Vermillion and Orchid.  Yep, Orchid is more towards the purple end of the spectrum, but here it is anyhow.

Hi, Grace - It's an interesting situation, but fortunately I can do it, and the Hubs is a rock that I can lean on.  In a very strange way, it's been almost a pleasure in that I can do for my mom what she needs.  I know her wants and I am her ombudsman, her champion. I know that the nursing home would drag her way down, and am doing whatever I can for however long I can to keep her out of it.  Daughters of Israel is a very good nursing home, and Charles Bierman is part of Daughters, so when she needs to go there, I know that she will get the best of care.  I'm really hoping, and so are the folks at Bierman, that she will die while still at Bierman. And on a lighter note, it finally stopped snowing here in Morristown!

Scrabblequeen - When it became time for her to not live alone any more,we moved her here, where we could do the work.   I was still working at the time, but only in the next town over from her, so it was easy to get to her.  Fortunately I worked in a place where my schedule was somewhat flexible, and everyone helped me out if I were called away. 

Carol - I think that she is now going down hill more quickly physically.  It's a blessing that she is fuzzy a lot of the time.  If she really knew her situation, it would bother her immensely.  I've learned that elder care, even when she doesn't live with us, is far harder that I ever imagined, especially now when the crises seem to come very quickly.  Like you, I'm glad I have a great support system, and online support is wonderful.  We all know what this is about and can help each other out.

Wall-to-wall books - My mom lives in the best place imaginable.  I think she's really getting to the nursing home stage, but if she went in now, she would slide down so quickly.  Here, she knows the staff, who are beyond wonderful.  They care about her as if she were their mom.  So my solution is to hire as much support staff as we can (and still afford it).  Whenever she leaves Bierman and then comes home, she has no idea where she lives.  But the minute she steps into her room, she says:  "Oh, that's my furniture.  I'm so glad to be home."  And it makes her happy.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Light & Dark Lace Club!

 It's Roxanne's turn and wait until you see her yarn!  I can tell you that it is wonderfully soft and knits and blocks like a dream.  Here is all her information.

And wait until you see the shawlette I designed for this yarn.  I did it totally on the go, and on the needles, sort of like design as you knit.  And it is different from anything else I've done.  Really, really pretty!

Scrabblequeen - I won't release this one until August.  We decided to keep the shawls "exclusive" for 4 months.   You could join the Light and Dark forum on Ravelry and watch the KAL as it moves along.  It'll start around April 8, I think.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Knitting progress.

The sweater is coming along.  I should have the body finished in a couple of days, and then onto the sleeves.  I will admit that this feels like it's taking forever, but it really isn't.  But I think the next sweater will be on DK yarn.

Here's another new green/blue yarn:  Aquarium.  I found a bit of leftover Benji yarn ( 100% SW merino 100g Approx 470 yards and softer than you can even imagine!)

$21 + shipping and soon to be available on Etsy.

Scrabblequeen - I have to admit that I'm totally sick of this sweater.  But I really want a light weight one for early spring, so I shall finish it.  But the next one is going to be a heavier wt of yarn!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I love green, especially after the white winter we have had. On a gray, rainy day like today, green is the only color out there. OK, it's a dull, dull green, but at least it's a spot of color.

So what's a dyer to do when it's this gray and she's hungry for color and St. Patrick's Day is coming?

Mallard, Black Watch, and Emerald!

 Sage, Lime, and Beach Glass

I feel better already, just looking at all those gorgeous greens!  You can find Emerald, Black Watch and Mallard in my Etsy shop today.  I'll list the others this coming week.  I don't want to overwhelm you with too my green goodness.

Have a wonderful green day.  You know that spring is coming! 

Wall-to-wall books - We often have a killer snow storm in March, but I think it's going to skip us this year.  You just live way too far north; you need to move downstate.  ;-) 

Wall-to-wall books - I'm so sorry!  Well, nobody will scream drought this year for you, or for us.  Think downstate! 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Etsy shop open with brand new colorways!

Check out my Etsy shop!  I've listed new colorways!  And the neat thing is that you can order any amount of any of the new colors because I can repeat the colorways.  Cool, huh?

Want to see lovely large pictures of the yarns?  Go to my PennyRose Yarns website for big pics and ideas of what goes with what.

Meanwhile, we're waiting for the word from the hospital on when they will discharge the Mommie!

Scrabblequeen - Now to sit here and wait for someone to buy. You'd think I'd be used to this by now. Nope.

Grace - Thanks, Grace! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this idea works.

Aspecialgal - And many more colors to come. I have about 16 to list.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I just talked to the case management person, and she's coming home tomorrow.  Oh frabjous day, calloo callay!

Kitten With a Whiplash - Thanks.  Any prayers are always accepted, especially when it comes to the Mommie!

Scrabblequeen - 'Twas brillig, 'twasn't it?

She's coming home tomorrow!

Ah hah, a bit of magical thinking!  I groused here, and lo and behold, they called me from the hospital, and she's being released tomorrow!  Maybe my kvetching did it? 


Somebody cheer me up, please.

I'm in hospital hell here.  The Mommie (96.25 years old) had a minor stroke Friday morning, and was off to the ER.  Many hours later, she was back to normal, and got moved to the telemetry floor.  OK, so now she is totally functional on her right side, her brain is happy again, and she's plopped in bed, where she loves to be.  To my mind, she is the way she was before the stroke.  Sleeps enormous hours, toddles around with her walker, sometimes is really fuzzy, and other times right on target.  In short, she's 96, and doing pretty well for her age.

So, I'm waiting for her to be released so that the Hubs and I can bring her home.  Not.  Now they want to do physical therapy with her.  Good luck, PT people.  The Mommie does what the Mommie wants, and she hates exercise with a passion.  So, they'll get her to move, and then the second she's released, she'll go back to being a lazy lady again.  And why not?  She's 96.  Do they think she's going to tap dance down the dining room floor?  Eh, what do I know?

On the other hand, they are truly doing what they think is best for her, and it is a gray and fuzzy area.  She's not going to reverse her stage; but do you let her go home as wobbly as she is?  At home, she uses her walker and is fine with it.  Here, she's in bed, loving every second of laziness, and she should be sitting up and toddling around with a walker.  But then, maybe PT will help.

And I can't get any answers.  Nobody will sit down and talk to me.  I suspect that they are as confused as I am, but they are the professionals, and want to get her mountain climbing again.  Eh, what do I know?  I do wish someone would listen to me.  That's the most frustrating part of this; nobody listens to the daughter.  But they are all very nice and well-meaning, and I'm grinding my teeth in frustration.

I'm so stressed that I can barely concentrate on anything.  Good thing I'm a knitter.  I have my hospital bag with me, and it's filled with 2 knitting projects so I can keep my fingers occupied and lower my stress.  If any of you wants a bit of stress, I can give you some.

I know:  I'm whining here.  I sound like I'm kidding around.  What I'm not saying is that I'm terribly worried about my mom.  I think she came through this latest crisis with flying colors, but that might not be the case the next time around.  Does staying in the hospital do good things for her?  Is she ready for a nursing home?  I don't think so since she gets extraordinary care at her independent living facility.  They don't allow her to stay in bed.  They get her up for meals, and she has a helper who gives her a hand with showering and getting dressed.  And they all love her.  Is a nursing home better than this?

Thanks for reading this; it feels better to let it out a bit.

Scrabblequeen - It's been quite a ride.  It does put a lot of things into perspective:  I don't need a vacation; I need just normal living.  ;-)

Caryn - She has totally bounced back.  She is one amazing woman!


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