Friday, May 29, 2009


The Diva at Diva Knitting is having a contest! You could win a free Namaste bag (but please don't, because I want to win!) and other neat goodies. Check it out here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Spring

In spite of the fact that my head feels like it is three times the size it should be, I'm very glad that Spring is officially here. The cold weather has gotten me down this year, even though we didn't have that bad of a winter. I don't know if it is my "advanced" age (ha ha--44 is not old), or the pain of shelling out so much money to SCE&G, but winter was rough. Here's hoping that Spring doesn't immediately roll into a blazing Summer! :)

Husband and I have an "art" project of sorts for the weekend. He's going to play Michelangelo and paint the ceiling of our family room. It's been in need for several months now, and we're both eager to have it done. I am most likely going to take on the back stairs stairwell, a job that's been waiting since, oh, last summer, and my office wall which was torn out during the Plumbing Disaster of '08. Unfinished projects annoy me, so having these things done will be a relief.

Daughter has plans to help out with the tech crew at her HS. The big Spring Musical is coming up in just a couple of weeks. They are putting on Fiddler on the Roof. Her school has an outstanding drama department, and the productions are always top notch. They have a great director in the drama department, and he always calls on his buddies from college to help out with productions. For example, they have a professional lighting director from Chicago who's done the lights for the past several years. Not many HS kids get to work with professionals, so this is truly a bonus for them.

Since this is a Knitting blog, I'll tell you about my latest project. I'm working on the Waffle House socks knitted toe up using magic loop. I'm quite pleased with this pattern and with how the socks are turning out. This is my second attempt at toe up sock knitting, and my first attempt at magic loop. So far, so good!! I love the yarn--Silja sport weight. It looks quite similar to that used in the pattern, but I did not plan that. There are really only two problems with this sock. 1. The yarn is almost exactly the same color as my Knitpicks Harmony needles and blends into them if I'm not sitting directly under a light. 2. The socks are a tad bit too narrow for me, so they're going to be daughter's socks instead of mine. I'm working with a US size 1 needle and will work these socks again but on a US size 2. That should give me a nice pair of socks without my having to fiddle with the pattern. I will get some photos of my work in progress over the weekend and share at some point next week.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

It Shouldn't Have Taken 20 Years

Daughter is at that age now when it's time to start thinking college. I must say, however, that for this child, thinking college has been something she's done her entire life. Education has always been an important thing for our family (and for husband's family and for my family before we were "us.") Daughter has also always had a keen interest in art and has known for years now that she wants to study some form of art in college. She's gone from fashion design to interior design, and now, finally, it looks like graphic design is what she wants to study. We took her on her first college tour two years ago when she was an 8th grader to Savannah College of Art and Design. She loved it.

Thanks to Facebook, I've gotten back in touch with students, professors, and administrators from my and husband's alma mater, Coker College. The memories brought back by talking to these people made me want to share Coker with daughter. So, when we found out there was an open house coming, we registered. She was not quite as excited about the whole thing as I was, needless to say! She was more excited about a girls' getaway and staying in a hotel than she was about seeing the place I called home for 4 years of my life.

Thursday afternoon, we left for our drive to Coker. The closer we got, the more excited I got. Although we arrived in the semi-dark and it was cold and raining, my first stop had to be at campus. Seeing the campus stirred up so many emotions in me. I didn't expect it at all. We couldn't do more than take a quick look, though, because we were both cold, tired, and hungry.

Friday morning arrived, again cold and overcast, and we got ourselves ready for the open house. Coker has changed so much since I graduated in 1987. There are new buildings on campus. The road through it is now closed to pedestrian traffic (hurray!). There are so many new faces in the faculty. Still, the feeling remains the same. Coker is a very special place, particularly for those of us who were students there.

Daughter was able to meet several professors, including a woman who made a huge impact on my life, Dr. Patricia Lincoln. Seeing Dr. Lincoln was probably the most special part of the visit for me. She has barely changed after all these years--still the same personable, upbeat woman. I did take the opportunity to tease her a little about those "forced marches" she used to lead us through in her classes! Any biology student of Dr. Lincoln's can probably relate to that!! As I shared with Dr. Lincoln in an e-mail, although I may not be working in ecology or evolution, the foundation I got in my education at Coker certainly prepared me to build what I like to think is a very successful career in the biological science arena. But, enough about me, let's get on with the open house and daughter's experience!

We picked up information about several of the majors at Coker, found out about what some of the extra curricular opportunities are, heard from professors about the academic environment, and heard from a student panel about their Coker experience. The emphasis all morning was on the importance of the individual, about professors and students who really are able to get to know one another due to the small size of the school and the classes (10:1 stuent teacher ratio). The Coker president told us that this is a small school by design and will always be a small school. Given that daughter is attending a small high school now, this is right up our alley. She's the kind of kid who needs to know everybody and have everybody know her. Most importantly for me, we heard about financial aid, and I found out that if things remain the same with daughter's grades and if her SAT (when she takes it) is as good as her PSAT which she's taken as a Sophomore, then she's very well positioned to get some of the most generous scholarships Coker offers. For the first time, I've felt like maybe we can swing paying for college after all.

Finally, after the presentations were over, parents and students split up for campus tours. This is the part I'd been anxiously waiting on! The campus still looks pretty much the same with a few exceptions. There is now a fabulous library/technology center. This place even has a coffee shop! There's also a great new performing arts center. Back in the late 80s, the Governor's School for Science and Math built a dormitory on campus. It's still there, but now inhabited by Coker students (the high schoolers have a new facility off campus). As a mom, I was pleased to see that security in the dorms has been increased. You now have to have a scan card to get into any of the dorms, and you only get those if you are a resident. Not even commuter students can access the dorms. The amphitheater behind Davidson has been filled in, but the students still enjoy using that space for pick up football or soccer games or just lounging in the sun. The SUB still looks just like it did back in 1983-1987 when I was a student at Coker.

The best part of the day for daughter was meeting with art professor Jean Grosser. Daughter was able to show Ms. Grosser some of her art work to date and get some objective feedback. She was also able to observe a class for a little while, get a personal tour of the building, meet a senior graphic design student who's working on his senior show, and see some of the work other students are doing. She was impressed and said to me afterward that some of the work she'd seen was even better than what she had seen at the art college.

Why did it take me 20 years to go back to Coker? I thought that holding onto the past meant not embracing the future, but I was wrong. There's nothing wrong with a visit now and again to where you came from as long as you grow and move on to what your future holds. I plan to make many more trips back to Coker, regardless of what daughter's decision about a college may be. I do take it as a good sign that on her evaluation she wrote that Coker was homey and a cozy place. It's a good sign that she wanted to stop at the bookstore on the way home and pick up some Coker gear. She has been wearing her new hoody since the minute we got in the car to come back home. She told me she likes Coker and can see herself going there. The thought that we may have a second generation Coker student thrills me. I do know, however, that this is entirely her choice. She needs to pick the school that is right for her. I think Coker's small size and friendly environment will play a big part in that decision, but we still have many more small colleges to visit. Here's hoping Coker wins! ;-)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On My Toes

My first toe up sock attempt is completed. I'm not thrilled with the results for several reasons, and my crappy photograph isn't helping matters much.

Let me just say that Judy Becker's Magic Cast On is indeed magic. I found printed instructions for this, but it didn't click until I watched the video. If you are on Ravelry, join the Up With Toes group and check out the group pages for more info on this cast on and other goodies related to knitting socks from the toe up.

The yarn I used was Tofutsies which is 50% Superwash Wool, 25% SOYSILK brand fiber, 22.5% Cotton, and 2.5% Chitin which is made from shrimp and crab shells. The yarn was pretty in the ball and soft. However, it wsn't very much fun to knit. I found it to be very splitty, particularly when I was wrestling 5 DPNs while knitting the toe increases. (Yes, I have heard of magic loop and will try it next time.) I have another brand new ball of this stuff in a darker pink/red color that I'm willing to swap. It was around $16 at the LYS. Make me an offer if you're interested!

I used the Widdershins pattern from Knitty for my socks--the plain version, not the cabled version. It's not a bad pattern, but I had some trouble with my wraps and turns and then knitting my wraps. That's not the fault of the pattern but due to the fact that this was my first time wrapping and turning. I think that will improve.

This was definitely a learning experience, and one important thing I learned is that I need to learn to knit socks with magic loop or two circulars if I plant to carry the project in my purse. I took this project on a business trip and was afraid the needles were going to get snapped in my purse.

Another thing I want to learn is a heel that doesn't have a heel flap. I'm not a big fan of the flap.

Now, on to Kitty News....... The three little kittens (aka Mocha, Socks, and Fluffy) are trying to get along. There has been less and less hissing and growling. In fact, all three of them were sitting within 5 feet of each other earlier today. Of course, they all seemed to be ignoring one another, but that's a cat for you.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kitty Love

I am waiting patiently for all 3 cats to start getting along. Mocha has become more tolerant of Fluffy. He is hissing less at her, and the two of them have actually been in a room at the same time now. Socks is still not completely sure she wants a sister, so she's still hissing and growling a little at Fluffy. Don't think Fluffy just takes it either. She gives it right back to Socks!

Fluffy is such a sweet thing. I know someone spoiled her at one time, and I just wonder how it is she came to be a stray cat. Fluffy loves to be with people. She sleeps on the foot of the bed at night and is up in the morning with whoever gets out of bed first. I just need her to learn that jumping on counters is not acceptable kitty behavior!

We have a vet appointment this afternoon for a checkup and initial vaccinations. Fluffy traveled pretty well from my grandma's to our home (2 hour trip), so I'm hoping she won't be too upset getting to the vet. Hopefully there will not be any big, loud dogs in the office when we go!

My new Knitpicks 40 inch circular needles came yesterday, so I'm planning to try magic loop tonight. I still have about 10 rows of ribbing to do on a sock, but that shouldn't take long. I want it finished before starting another project. Photos coming soon of the first toe up socks!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Trying to Spring

I am trying my hardest to spring forward, but I'm not sure it's working! I felt like yesterday was a total waste what with the "lost" hour and all. It usually takes me a week or so to adjust to time changes, and spring is harder for me than fall. Not sleeping last night didn't help. Just as I had nodded off, I heard Fluffy on the kitchen counter and had to go get her down. (She's not allowed on counters or tables, but maybe her last family didn't care about that?) From that point on, it was TossandTurnville all night long. Guess who slept on my feet, quite soundly, I might add? Yep, Fluffy.

The kitties seem to be getting along a little bit better today. There is still a lot of hissing and growling, but I'm betting on them being buddies by the weekend. I have set up a litter box for Fluffy, because she wasn't happy about the communal cat potty. Of course, I didn't realize this was a problem until after we'd found poop in the tub. At least she went in the bathroom and in a spot that was easy to clean up and disinfect.

We had a nice visit yesterday with Daughter's boyfriend (yes, the same one). We had out first cook out of the season, and then they watched a movie and played Wii bowling. Fun times.

I'm still knitting away on my first toe up sock. It's not perfect by any means. I am having some problems with the wrap and turn. My knitted wraps are looking twisted, not all nice and neat like they should. I'll keep practicing but may also try a different heel.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Meet Fluffy

Daughter and I drove down to see my mom yesterday for her birthday--65 years old! We had a nice time visiting. Both my grandmothers as well as my brother and several aunts, uncles, and cousins all live in the same town where I grew up, so I got to see several people.

A kitty had wandered up to my grandma's house, and my grandma wasn't able to keep it. She is elderly, already has one cat, and just cannot take on another pet. So, it was either we take Fluffy, or she has to go to the pound. What do you think happened?

Meet the newest addition to our family:

She wasn't too anxious to have a photo shoot just yet. Fluffy is still busy exploring the house and having hissing contests with Mocha and Socks.

However, Fluffy, thinks the upstairs belongs to her. Here she is having a snooze in the bed:

Fluffy has been living outside for a few weeks now, and it's pretty obvious she's not an outdoor cat. She's a little dirty, but husband doesn't want me to traumatize her with a bath until she's feeling more comfortable in our house. We do have a little vet visit to take, and that's going to be traumatic enough.