Crafting and freezer meals

Today, I am both knitting and crocheting, chatting with my Mom, and playing World of Warcraft. I am decidedly multi-tasking and multi-craftual. The sun is shining and my mood is cheerful. How could this gorgeous colorway not prompt a few smiles?

2016-02-12 12.34.13

A batch of Italian sausage is defrosting in a covered pan on my stove and will be turned into several servings of my spaghetti sauce.  It takes a lot of Excedrin and Advil to get me to the point where I can do any kind of cooking project. As I wish to preserve my kidneys for as long as possible, I stay off the pain meds unless I really need to get through something. Like the funeral tomorrow and the various family gathering that will result. I’m probably going to be able to feel my hair growing.

My energy levels have been so low and pain levels so high that I just haven’t been able to fix regular meals which leaves me at the mercy of quick, easy, and bad for me carbs. I want to make a bunch of freezer meals to help with this and one of my favorites is spaghetti sauce. Yep, pasta is carbs so I don’t pour it over pasta. My sauce is so chunky, I either eat it straight like a stew or maybe have it over a steamed veggie.  I take a regular canned sauce and add in chunks of italian sausage, olives and mushrooms and let it simmer until the flavor of the sausage makes the whole thing beyond fabulous.

After the spaghetti, a large batch of stroganoff will be attempted if I have time before the in-laws descend upon me for a pre-funeral family gathering.

In between all the tasks for completing the freezer meals, a round of knitting or two will happen. I started a hat for Danica.  It was looking like it would be a little too small and once I had started the color changes, the 2×2 rib band looked like it should be longer. I frogged it and started over with a few more stitches. I’ll go for 4 inches of rib, change colors, go up a needle size and start the stripes. I think this will give me the slouchy look I’m hoping for.

2016-02-07 10.47.15 2016-02-12 12.38.48

A public service announcement about common decency.

There is very little in this world that is as frustrating as wishing for justice and needing fairness and knowing it’s just not going to happen. Wishing for people that have wronged the ones you love to just stop and be decent. Wishing for people that should have your loved ones back, only find out that they really don’t and that they have absolutely no intention of changing or apologizing.

People, if you have children and are divorced, by all that’s holy communicate with your ex partner about the kids. Please. Really. Seriously. Don’t quazi communicate through the kids. They hate it. They will resent you for it. Don’t post a picture on Facebook of your son in the ER and not tell the other parent, especially when you have that parent blocked on Facebook. Don’t let another child inform the other parent, because that’s just going to spread misinformation, not enough information, and cause confusion. Don’t invite the whole family, including your former in-laws to your son’s important religious event and leave out the other parent. Don’t just hope that the child has the presence of mind to tell his father. Don’t let the father find out because a grandparent just happened to call to ask if he wants to carpool.

Communication.  It’s a thing.  Not communicating with your ex is abusive to the children. Communicating through the children is abuse. Complaining about your ex to his elderly grandmother is abusive. No one really wants to talk to their ex, but just do it anyway. Send a text. Send an email. Set up a frikkin’ Google calendar if you think you are just so fragile, victimized, traumatized and such a speshul snowflake that sending a text will cause you to melt like the vindictive witch you really are. Posting the kids events on a Google calendar will not hurt you.  And it just might show your children how to behave like a decent human being.

People, if you have siblings who are divorced, for the love of God don’t enable that ex spouse in her bad behavior and just expect your brother to just suck it up an play along. Don’t pose in pictures with someone’s ex and expect that he’s not going to be hurt.  Don’t expect that no one is going to say anything about it. Stand up for your family. Support your family. Standing passively around and doing nothing is not standing up for your family. It is okay to gently and politely say something isn’t appropriate or could cause hurt feelings. And if someone should maybe point out that you’ve hurt your brother’s feelings, don’t ignore them. Don’t lecture them for 2 hours and 20 paragraphs on their behavior. Own up to yours.  Have the decency to at least say “Oh hey, I didn’t mean to hurt him, I just didn’t know what else to do. I’m really sorry”. That, at least, would be honest.

And decent.

Getting started is the hardest part

It’s kinda fiddly casting on and joining in the round, making sure the darn thing doesn’t twist. It is this fiddly part that makes me hesitate and put off casting on until my anxiety to start pushes me to give in. Once you’re past the first few rows, though, it’s a walk in the park. This hat is for Danica who requested a slouchy hat that would go with most of her stuff. That means black and some bit of purple.

2016-01-31 18.38.45

The other hat in my life has been finished and is patiently waiting for the ends to be woven in so it can move on into Chynna’s life.

2016-01-25 19.10.07

I’ve finished Jyrl’s blanket. I just need to give it a quick wash, find a baby gift bag, and then drop it off at Scott’s (Jyrl’s dad) house.  It turned out pretty much like I thought it would and the yarn wasn’t horrible to crochet with.

2016-01-30 18.12.58

Snowy windows and more crochet

I love the view from upstairs, especially when it snows.

2016-01-30 15.09.03

2016-01-30 15.40.03 2016-01-30 15.42.06

I’m almost finished with the baby blanket for Jryl’s baby.  At least I think I am. The rows get shorter each time and should be going faster. They’re aren’t. Either physics is broken at my house, or I’m getting slower. I think this is what they call the knitting (in my case crocheting) vortex.  You keep going and going and it doesn’t feel like you are getting any closer to the end.

2016-01-30 15.43.27

Second verse

Almost the same as the first

2016-01-23 21.26.15

Chynna’s beloved watermelon hat suffered a cruel fate. It melted in our washer while the thing was only washing in super hot water. I started a new one for her using the leftover yarn from the first one.  I spent most of my available energy today searching the house for the beads. I finally gave up and had Danica pick some up for me while she was out today. I’ve started adding the beads and realized that I didn’t leave as many rows between the beads as I did last time. I think it’s still going to look okay.

You may think I’m a little annoyed at the washer and yes, I am. But not for the reasons you might think. I’m sad that the sweaters were roughed up a little, but the hat? It’s okay. I was talking to a lady in my neighborhood the other day who mentioned that she didn’t want to use a handknit dishcloth for fear of messing it up. I encouraged her to go ahead and use it. Knitters like it when their hand knits get used and in the case of small things like hats, gloves, and dishcloths, we don’t really mind when they get used up, well-loved, and worn out. We then have someone else to knit for someone who have proved themselves knit (or crochet) worthy. My mom loves and uses and uses up the dishcloths I knit for her. Even better, she gives me feedback on the styles and patterns that work the best. I often hope for the day when I get to hear that a child has loved and worn out the blanket I made for them. My kids love their crochet blankets and my son kept his around for far longer than he probably wants people to know. Maybe my grandchildren will be the same.

If you don’t use up and wear out what we make you, what will we make you next year?

The blanket she couldn’t make

I’m making another baby blanket. Like most of the baby blankets I make, this one came about in the usual way. Someone I know is about to have or has had a baby. This particular someone, Jyrl, is a lovely young woman and is the daughter of my very good friend, Scott. Jryl and my daughter played when they were younger. Scott introduced me to my husband David. David and I had been regular Saturday visitors at Scott’s house where we played a role playing game along with several other friends, among them, my bestie Wendy.

Scott’s wife, Jackie, was sometimes there, sometimes at work, and sometimes just off doing the things that working mothers do on Saturdays. I didn’t know Jackie really well, but she was a really nice and talented woman. She sewed and crocheted and one day, either noticed me making one of my standard granny square baby blankets or just happened to be making one of her own. Hers was slightly different and she showed me the pattern. I think it was her standard go-to baby blanket, much like my standard granny square was mine. Her blanket had the same shell stitch but was worked corner to corner instead of from the inside out like mine. I found it interesting and then promptly forgot about it.

Jackie passed away from cancer many years ago. She had time to prepare and left behind things for her children. I don’t know and haven’t asked if she made baby things for future grandchildren. I’m not sure I have it in me to ask. I heard Jyrl had had a baby and off to the stash I went looking for baby boy yarn. Inexplicably, I didn’t have any that I thought suitable. I had baby yarn, I regularly stock the stuff, but the colors were too girly. Off to the craft store I went to select some boyish colors. I had in my head that I wanted a decent turquoise and a white.  In the middle of the baby aisle, the memory of Jackie showing me this blanket hit me. It hit me kinda hard. What if she were here? What kind of blanket would she make for her daughter? Maybe by now she would make something else, something super fancy, I don’t know but somehow I just knew that I had to make this blanket in the way she showed me all those years ago.  So, I came home with some blues and white and got to work.

2016-01-05 14.31.46

I liked the colors, but it  just wasn’t working for me, so back to the store I went for more yarn. I think it may have been that I wasn’t using ‘baby’ colored yarn and I really didn’t like the thought of weaving in so many ends. Being plagued by self-doubts on whether what I was doing was suitable or not, appropriate or not, corny or not, wasn’t helping. I chose another yarn.

2016-01-08 12.51.36

This is more like what I wanted. Maybe the other women in her family will have done this for and I’m just being silly, but it’s nice to think that Jackie was there, telling me what she wanted. I don’t know if I’m going to be brave enough to tell Jyrl why I chose this particular pattern, but in my head THIS is the blanket that her mother couldn’t make.

2016-01-19 19.41.57

I’ve reached the half-way mark and have started the decreases. It is, as they say, all downhill from here.

This youtube video is the pattern that Jackie showed me, as near as I can remember. The yarn is a newish yarn that I found at JoAnns that had the standard baby colors that I wanted and remembered but was also in a worsted weight so the blanket would go along faster.



Many Things From Another Texas trip

Knitting on the road

2015-12-19 11.26.45

Bluebell ice cream.

2015-12-19 11.42.15

Lower gas prices.  The picture didn’t come out as clear as I hoped, but the price was lower than any I had seen in a very long time.

2015-12-19 11.30.10

Gun lessons with Grandpa

2015-12-20 13.51.36

Shooting lessons with Grandpa. She’s learned well.

2015-12-29 16.05.38

More knitting

2015-12-22 21.24.52

Texas things in a Texas WalMart

2015-12-23 12.09.23

Really cute nephews

2015-12-25 10.25.46

The Bronco in the garage

2016-01-01 07.42.38

Mistletoe in the trees

2016-01-01 13.50.24

A stocking by the fireplace

2015-12-31 23.15.08

Parents by a Christmas tree

2015-12-25 10.31.00

An uncle in a chair

2015-12-28 14.50.12

Snow on the ground?? WTH? There were storms all over the south while we were down there. On our way home, we started to see snow on the ground just outside of Chilicothe. It was so strange to see snow here.

2016-01-01 18.41.08

We made it home, safe and sound, just after New Years. We finally got the blog back up the other day and I’m catching up on all I wanted to post.

My Magnum Opus or whatever

What else would you call something that has put your through so much, tested your patience, and taught you so many things?

Other than “children” that is.

This shawl.  I’ve written about it many times. Up to the very last minute, I was still fixing things as I went. Time after time I would have to fix a missed yarn over a couple of rows back. I even had to move a yarn over over. I wonder if only knitters will understand the difference between these two pictures.

2015-12-24 10.31.36 2015-12-24 11.02.12

In the end, a few days after Christmas, I was able to finally give my mother the shawl we planned together so many years ago. I cannot express how happy I am to have this thing off my needles.

Even after years of work, in February of this year, it was only this long.

2015-02-25 15.05.28

You’ve come a long way, baby.

2016-01-01 07.34.41

Happy Birthday, Chynna Sunshine

Happy Birthday to my darling Chynna.  She is the sunshine in my life.

2015-12-29 16.06.32

She is holding a painting her art teacher did for a demonstration for the class.  He gave her the picture and she gave it to me for Christmas.

Happy Birthday Danica – belated

The blog was down before we went out of town and it’s just been now that I’ve been able to get online and post things.  So, the first catch post is:

Happy Birthday Danica!

This stunning young woman turned 26 on Dec 10 and is a joy to have in my life.

2015-12-11 20.01.07

She held down the fort while we were away in Texas visiting my parents and I hear Keaton became quite attached to her.  I missed being with her during Christmas but it was a relief to have her taking care of the house and the cat.