Tuesday, April 29

Sick again

I'll be so happy when April is over. It is usually not a good month for me. I tend to get sick in October and April when the seasons change. I was just thinking last week I was going to make it through April this year without getting sick. That was tempting fate.

Friday afternoon my throat started getting scratchy. At first I thought it was just seasonal allergies and our up and down temperatures. By Saturday morning, it had turned into a sore throat with chills. (No fever, but chills. That's odd.) I spent most of that day sitting in my favorite chair, watching TV covered with a warm blankie, and nodding off from time to time. I was so miserable that knitting was beyond me. :-( Sunday, I was congested. Yesterday, there was not enough Kleenex in the world to take care of all the yuck draining out of my head. Today, I'm finally beginning to feel like I might live.

I'm guessing that stress played a major part in felling me. Finding something to wear to a family wedding this weekend was one of the major stressors. (Yes, the wedding is only 3 days off! I had better be well by then and not give this crap to hubby either!)

Then I accidentally scheduled three medical appointments last week. (Oops!) Two appointments were even on the same afternoon. First was a visit to the dentist for a cleaning and exam. No problems there.

A couple hours after that I got my eyes dilated. I had gone to my eye doctor the previous week for new glasses. She couldn't do it since I didn't have anyone to drive me home afterwards. (Why don't they ever tell you when you make an appointment that they're going to do this stuff so you'll come prepared?) Of course, that meant scheduling this second appointment. My left eye has been giving me problems so she wanted to make sure nothing was going on. Afterwards, I was wearing sunglasses inside the house because I couldn't tolerate the light. It also gives me a horrendous headache. The dilation medicine is supposed to wear off in 1-1/2 hours. It doesn't work that way for me. I had "owl eyes" for the rest of the day. My right eye started to come back after 3 hours. The left eye not until an hour later. In fact, the left one was still slightly dilated when I finally threw in the towel and went to bed. I missed a knitting meetup in the evening too. I was not a happy camper. The only bright spot in all of this is the news that I don't have glaucoma or cataracts. What I do have is floaters in my left eye. When they drift over my field of vision, I get a ripple or out-of-focus distortion until it moves on. Disconcerting, especially when you're trying to read something. I guess it's something I'll have to live with it. There is currently no treatment for floaters.

Two days after this, I had an appointment with my doctor about an itchy patch on my back. (She removed it and sent it off to the lab. Meanwhile, I will worry until the lab report comes back. Just another bit of stress added to the accumulating pile.) I suspect I picked up the bug I have while I was there. It has to be more than coincidence that a little over 24 hours after I visited her office that I started getting sick.

Not much knitting has been getting done. My brain has been so fried from whatever this crap is that I haven't felt like doing much at all. Hopefully, I will feel much better tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 23

Clothes shopping & fitting woes

Here's my soapbox for today. I really hate shopping for clothes. It comes from frustration that happens when you can't find anything that fits or looks good on you. I am so sick of finding nothing but teeny bopper clothes, tiny sizes, or matronly clothes for old ladies. What's with that?

I'd wager there are more baby boomer ladies out there than teeny boppers. So why are there more clothes on the racks for young people than for women our age? There are always lots of clothes available if you are a 0-12, but the racks are pretty empty in the 14 and up range. Hello!

What's out there for women who aren't twigs and have a real figure? Not much from my observation. Clothing manufacturers are really missing out on a significant market by not designing clothes for those of us in the 14+ range. The "bridge" sizes between misses and womens are missing in most stores. Most go from a 14 or 16 misses to a 16 or 18 womens. (There is a big difference between the way a misses size fits and a women size.) If you're an 18 misses or a 14 womens size, forget about finding clothes. Not many stores sell them. I'm a petite (barely 5' 4" on a good day), which makes it even more of a challenge.

My clothes closet in recent years has dwindled to a few pair of jeans, capris, and t-shirts (long sleeve, short sleeve, and tank tops). I've only kept what fits me and looks good. Everything else I have ruthlessly pruned from my wardrobe. Trouble is, I haven't been able to find anything new to replace what's gone. My husband has more clothes than I do. Isn't that pathetic?

I have fairly long legs, am short in the rise, and fairly long waisted. This mix is not conducive to finding clothes. Petite tops are usually too short for me, misses are ok if the styles aren't too long (and I can find a size that fits me), women's sizes fall off my shoulders, with gaping armholes and hems to my knees. Not a flattering look!

Pants are a nightmare. I need a short rise in the crotch or the waistband comes up to my bra band. I call them "stranglers." :-( If I buy a petite in pants to fit my short rise, the legs are too short and pant hems hit at my ankle. :-( I call these "waders". The lower rise in jeans the last few years has been a boon for me. I can have the shorter rise and the longer length I need in the leg. When I was working full time I made a lot of my slacks because it was the only way I could find pants that fit.

For the last 3 weeks, I haven't gotten much done. I've been wasting too much time out shopping for a dress to wear to a nephew's wedding in May. My husband is part of the wedding party and will be wearing a tux. That meant some serious shopping to find a dress.

What's with all the black clothing in the stores? Do we all have to look like we're going to a funeral when dressing for an event? Regardless of what the fashionistas say, black and dark colors really do not make a fuller figure look smaller. Boring is what I call it. Black is a little stark for me to wear since my hair color left. I love color! Granted, I can't wear the jewel colors I used to love, but I can still wear fairly strong ones. Color is more flattering to my complexion than black and it makes me feel happy.

After shopping at least 20 stores in my area, plus more at Lighthouse Place outlet mall in Michigan City, I still hadn't found anything to wear to a wedding. I was desperate. I would have settled for a nice pair of slacks and a top. I even entertained thoughts of making my own dress. And because I've lost so much time out shopping for 3 weeks, I really did not have time to do that. Desperation drove me to one last store on Sunday. One that I had avoided because I don't care for their clothes. I walked in and immediately found 2 dresses in my size in flattering colors on the rack. Could this be??? First one was a no go. Second one was...the one! Lovely lilac color, flattering, and it fits! (Even better--it was on sale!) Relief, I won't have to go naked or in jeans. LOL! Once I find a pair of shoes, I'm set!

Update: Friday, April 25 - silver open toe wedge high heel shoes found at DSW at 50% off! Score!

Saturday, April 19

Ravelry pattern downloads now available!

I'm so excited! My knitting patterns are now available for immediate download through Ravelry! You can click here to find my Ravelry store. All three shawl patterns and all three cat toy patterns are up.

I've added new BUY NOW buttons to the patterns here on my blog. These new Ravelry buttons should take you to Paypal to pay for the pattern you choose and let you download the pattern.

Thursday, April 10

Knitting projects galore!

Knitting has been happening behind the scenes. I was surprised at how much I had gotten done but hadn't blogged about when I set down to post this. :-)

I finished 20 mice, 5 fish, and 31 rollie ball cat toys and delivered them. That filled the toy jar nicely at my vet's office. Proceeds from the jar have been delivered to Pet Refuge.

Here's the new pair of toe up socks I started with some Regia spcl yarn. This is a real change from all the red yarn I had been knitting up recently. LOL!

Then there is a trio of scarves. The first is a shadow stitch scarf in blue and yellow knit with some mystery yarn. The yarn was a superbulky weight and there wasn't much yardage. I unplyed it. (Yes, I know I'm crazy.) That netted me about 116 yards of DK/light worsted weight. I actually liked the color better unplyed and it worked out that the yellow pooled nicely. I found out after I washed it that it has some wool in it. It felted a bit though not enough to hurt it. :-) Through Ravelry, I was able to identify the yarn as a wool/acrylic blend called Austermann Bombolo.

The second is a triangle scarf knit from handspun. If the color looks familiar, it should. I knit it with the leftovers from the blob wool. While I was spinning the huge skein from the blob, I found places in the fiber that had more mohair in it. I put those bits aside because they we so unlike the rest of the fiber. I thought about throwing it away but decided to take a chance and spin it up. I got 184 yards of fingering weight yarn (about 2.1 ounces) out of it. Cast on for a triangle scarf and knit until I was almost out of yarn. Did a crochet chain cast off to finish it off. I really like the way the yarn subtly shades from one color to the next. There were a lot of ohs and ahs from everyone who saw it Tuesday night at my fiber arts group. They also loved the lemon sugar cookies I baked. They were delish!

Scarf number three is a mini version of my Celtic Hearts shawl. I started with 112 yards of Louet Gems in red, tied on the leftover 70 yards of Kroy sock yarn from the Syrian Shawl (that makes 3 projects that yarn it is part of!), and finished the border with some dark green sock yarn. Probably about 200 yards of fingering weight total. It turned out very nice. Blocked, it measures 36" x 16". If you have my Celtic Hearts pattern, here's how to knit the scarf. Knit rows 1-48, then repeat 29-48, and finish by adding the border. This one has been sent to Scarves for the Heart.

I knitted two dishcloths and crocheted two pot scrubbers. These were part of a bridal shower gift. I made up a kitchen basket for the shower. I found a nice bread basket and tucked into it the dishcloths and pot scrubbers, a bunch of kitchen gadgets, and a stack of 55 quick and easy recipes printed out on 4" x 6" cards. I remember what it was like when I first got married, coming home from work and not having a clue what to cook for dinner. :-( It wasn't pretty!

I knit this little hooded baby sweater over the weekend. It's a top down, knit in one piece sweater pattern. I've cobbled the pattern together over the years using bits of other baby sweater patterns that I liked. This particular sweater used up about 250 yards of worsted weight. That's a little more than 1 ball of Bernat Denim Style (cotton/acrylic blend) in what they call Faded Khaki. I call it green. I gifted it to a member of my fiber arts groups on Tuesday night along with a little blanket and some socks I purchased. Anita stopped by for a few minutes so we could see the new baby boy, Vann. He's a cutie! The baby is so tiny it will be awhile before he can wear the green sweater.

Wednesday, April 9

Things they are a changing...

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile. Hubby was on vacation last week. I wasn't around much and didn't have much time to work on anything. This week I am scrambling to try and catch up a bit.

Yesterday, I heard on Ravelry that the MagKnits site has been permanently shut down. Read the letter from the editor here. This is weird because just recently a new issue was posted. Why would you do that and then shut it down without any warning? There goes all the free patterns from that site. I may have links to some MagKnits patterns on my shawl and 285 yards list. If so, those links won't work anymore. Ravelry is working with the pattern designers to try and get all the MagKnits patterns up for free on Ravelry.

I've signed up to sell my shawl and cat toy patterns through Ravelry. Once Casey gives me the ok, I'll get things set up. Then you won't have to wait for me to email a pattern pdf to you. It will all be automatic. After you make your Paypal payment on Ravelry, they will send you a code to download it right away. I'll have to pay a bit for the service, but I think it will be worth it. I'll still be available if you have any questions. (And yes, I will probably take the Paypal links down off my blog to buy the patterns. I won't do that until after I'm sure the other service is running correctly.)

There is a new experimental pattern search on Ravelry. With it you can search for patterns by yarn weight and yardage. This may shortly make my triangle shawl list and 285 yards or less pattern lists obsolete. Of course, we'll have to make sure that ALL of the patterns from those lists are in the Ravelry database so that you can continue to access them. Given that, I probably will stop updating those lists. Though I do have a few more links I could add to the 285 yards list.

And don't worry, I'm not giving up on blogging as so many others are. I'll still be letting you know what I'm working on, my new pattern designs, etc.

BTW, If you haven't already joined Ravelry, run over and put your name on the waiting list. It only takes a couple of days to get in. Casey and Jess are making this site a dream resource for all knitters and crocheters. And the best thing is it's free!