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Monday, March 31, 2008

Udates, virus' and a Keegan Lane Yarn Review!

jay walker sock in keegan lane ballet slippers

I've been:

1) sick

2) recovering

3) playing nurse for everyone else who's been sick. (Everyone's been so kind taking turns... aka stretching out this season of sickness for all it's worth! And- As I've taught my guys to share--- they have been sharing liberally... good with snacks not so good with virus' and bacteria. )

4) Celebrating the never ending birthday of my youngest. (Somehow, this kids "birthday party" has cloned into parties..... one for one part of the family--- another with friends, another with another part of the family......and the immediate family..... and so on... and so on...maybe its the birthday business making us sick???? PS- the yellow frosting on a McDonalds birthday cake is permanent... at least when it comes into contact with acrylic nails at 2:30 a.m. when I NEEDED some cake... caught yellow handed, I suppose! Be forewarned:!)

The sickness thing is just annoying.... enough said. And expensive... tissues... tissues... with lotion... tissues with anti-viral dots... decongestants... throat lozenges and GIANT bottles of Ibuprophen.....not to mention popsicles and chicken soup by the case.

But- we're recovering.... I think.... let's just say--- the amount of bleach and various sanitizing chemicals I've been using have effectively removed my fingerprints... I could now be a spy. (Not really... but sheesh- I've been bleaching everything but the pets... and they are nedt on my list of carrier-suspects;)

So- instead of flus, colds and strep--- lets talk pretty yarn!

This past week I recieved an order from my favorite online shop- The Loopy Ewe. In it, was carefully tucked, 3 beautiful skeins of a new (to me) indie dyer- "Keegan Lane Yarns." I purchased: Shy Violet, Ballet Slippers and Milky Way. Each handpainted skein comes with a pretty little matching (I love matching) stitch marker. The colors are terrific- and the yarn is knitting up beautifully. The twist on the yarn is smooth and even-getting guage wasn't a challenge at all. The dye work is lovely and it was well skeined- no knots or bad bits. An A+ New dyer! I highly recommend.

The base yarn reminds me of Socks That Rock and Wollmeise--- very nice.


US 1½ / 2.5 mm (I'm using Knit Picks Harmony DPN's



Keegan Lane Yarns Ballet Slippers Toasty Sock



1 skeins = 420.0 yards (384.0m)


no purl mok=nkeys- froggedI started a pair of no-purl monkeys (based on Knitty's original pattern. I used Keegan Lane Yarn in the "Ballet Slippers" Colorway... but once I started knitting- I decided it was begging to be a pair of jaywalkers! (The jaywalkers are in the pic above.)In the end- I think it was worth ripping them back and starting again in the jaywalker pattern--- just seems to make the most of the yarn and pattern! However--- I now must absolutely make a pair of no-purl monkeys in a more subtle colorway;)

They are fast and simple and prettiful;) Meets my sock knitting requirements! If you can get your hands on a skein (or 5) of Keegan Lane Yarns... I highly recommend it!

Today, I've posted a devotional at Laced With Grace called "Me, Version 2.0" You'll read about my most recent Windows Vista update... and how God's been trying to update me- too;) (A little hint--- I keep clicking "Update later" Sound familiar?)

I hope you'll pop over for a visit- and read some of the other great posts at Laced With Grace- the girls writing there are just phenomenal!

Also- today is the last day to enter for the Laced With Grace Contest-- the prize is a wonderful 50% scholarship to the Proverbs 31 "She Speaks Conference." Make sure to leave a comment at LWG for one more chance to win!!!

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dear Clothing Designers- I am fat and average--- please stop torturing me....

6 hours... of my life.

6 hours spent wiggling and jiggling and sweating in claustrophopic conditions attempting to find a "casual" outfit that "worked". That's what clothes shopping has come too. I hate it. Which is probably good for my budget, but, is not so good for my self esteem. Three way mirrors with flourescent mega watt lighting is enough to make Angelina Jolie, cry of shame. (umm maybe not- but one could hope I'm not alone crying in the fitting room why don't they call them the unfitting room- the truth is we go in there to see if something doesn't fit- correct?)

There is a strange dichotomy in the current fashion industry- the focus seems to be on one of two things: getting people pregnant (risque half nekkidness)--- or making them look like they are. (That statement solidifies my "approaching 40 sounding and getting old award" for the year)

Cute top after cute top was tried on---sadly, what was cute on the rack was either maternity-ish on the bod, or just plain in appropriate. This lead me from one store to another--- in search of the perfect (or at least the not embarrassingly bad, outfit. It probably didn't help that I was PMSing--- but PMS or not-- ugly is ugly, and fashion is weird.

Things I do not understand about current fashion: (and that prove I am old- and fat)

Tops that do not allow for women to have br**sts. (Where exactly am I suppose to store them? Offsite?)

Tops that draw and quarter br**asts. (four b**bs are NOT better than 2) Empire waists are to be placed UNDER the br**sts..l not in the MIDDLE of them!

Tops that have ribbons bows and strange gathering where one least needs it...ruffles at the bottom of tunic length tops are just WRONG.

Tops too short to avoid muffin-topping. (What used to be known as ones hips...) (I know-- my problem isn't so much muffin tops as a bundt cake butt)

Tops that require the purchase of additional layering pieces to make them even remotely appropriate. (However- nice try with the "selling up" attempt Fashion industry-- it's working) Also-layered tops that are sewn together in such a way as to become a mass of knotted fabric in the washing machine... yeah- love that.

Please stop making t-shirts that look fine until you get them home, then they turn see-thru. (Especially when they actually fit- that's just plain mean.)

T-shirts sized to fit barbie dolls.. and sold for full-grown adult women. Really--- do you think I will buy more black t-shirts if I have to buy a size 2 x?.. I am not a 2 x... thats ridiculous. Vanity sizing works for me.

Wrap tops that don't wrap--- they GAP. *Also the whole point of wrap tops is that they can be wrapped and fitted to perfection... please stop sewing them at weird places--- it defeats the purpose of the wrap.

Tops that are otherwise perfect- but with one strange fatal flaw--- like sleeves that make my wrists look fat...(they do--- I swear!) or openings where I least need them..

Built in bras that do nothing but mush and smoosh. (Hello... any one over a b cup will end up with the infamous uni-b**b. Like 4 b**bs, one is not better than two.)

Jackets cut ...almost to fit---if I didn't have br**sts.

Cropped.... anything.... but especially jackets and tops.

Jeans--- should we even go there---? I would however- like to thank the fashion industry for upping the rise from 1 1/2 inches to 4 1/2. So much better. :(

Also- proponents of global warming thank you for improvement of cracks in the atmosphere.

Skirts--- there seems to be only 2 types- those of the "I thought I was a belt, but I am a skirt" type...and the "Oh my word, how much ugly fabric can we elasticize and still be able to call it a skirt, not a tent? " type. 'nuff said. I just want a normal skirt that fits my butt AND my waist and isn't too short or too long... is that too much to ask?

Suggestion: Think Pencil-skirt but with one of those ergonomic grip things on it;)

Weird huge belts on highwaisted pants.... "Hello, my b**bs are sitting on a belt-shelf?" Not a good look.

Pants with ankles more narrow than my wrists.... my goal is not to look like a giant "?" Question mark. Fluffy tops with tiny bottoms are weird.

Shoes... well shoes are always weird-- and uncomfortable, but i love them anyways. Probably because I can get them to fit.

I don't get it at all. I am the "average" size according to statistics. (Although I am not exactly liking the statistics..) If I am the average....why are clothing manufacturers making clothing designed for stick figures with perky b**bs that look cute in maternity tops???? (And since when do stick figures have b**bs at all? And why do mannequins have nip*les? But, I digress....)

In short- Clothes shopping- not so fun. Making fun of clothes shopping??? Yeah, pretty fun...

However- I will say this: "Silver Jeans" ???

Yeah- pretty much perfect. So Perfect- I bought them without being on sale!!!!

Ok, enough complaining--- anyone have recommendations for tops- skirts etc???? List your fave's with links in the comments;) Or- go ahead and complain--- it's that kind of day;)

As for personal updates--- my family is sick yet again- and on Spring Break....

This time looks like a nasty cold- or flu thing. Current score? 2 down- 3 to go.... we're dropping like flies around here...

Will someone, please send sunshine, quick????

PS--- just realized bathing suit season is nearly upon us------help!

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Dirty Microwave, Bane of my Existence. Leech of my Time.

The dirty beast crouched in the corner. The brave and well armed Knight-ess of clean, raised her bottle of Windex in what could only be percieved as an act of war. The beast growled, for a moment- a strange glow emanated from the dark gape that could be it's mouth. A beep sounded. The Knight-ess wondered if it was an alarm, understood only by like-beasts, calling for help. Glancing to her right and left- she saw no beasts coming to it's aid. A ruse. She saw right through it.

Undaunted, the shining Knight-ess thrust her paper- towel lance forward. The "SQUEAK" of wet toweling on plastic, metal and glass deafening. Her arm shook with effort. Sweat stood out on her brow. Just when she thought her battle was won, the beast, with new-found dirt (hiding in the not so wonderful too clean, grilling element) struck back. What she thought was clean- alas, was speckled with dried Spaghettio's and tomato soup. Withdrawing her arm, she bumped the glass, leaving a smudge of sweat and (quite possibly) tears. The beasts haunting , blue-green blinking (12:00) eyes glared at her in an assumption of victory.

The Knight-ess dug deep into her soul... with a mighty cry of "Tonight, we dine in CLEAN!" She deftly swiped at the dirt. One. More. Squirt. And the deed, was done. In place of a beast stood a shining clean appliance.

The Evil Microwave was defeated. Clean ruled the kitchen once more. (well- most of it) All hail the Knight-ess! Huzzah! Hoorah! The Knight-ess soon found herself surrounded by a cheering crowd. (wouldn't that be nice?... especially when I clean the floor around the toilet--- I deserve it!)

That night-along with the King and Princes of her beloved home, she not only dined in clean... she dined OUT.

THE END.

Why hasn't anyone invented a self- cleaning microwave??? When I bought this new microwave- I had no idea what trouble would lie in wait. The heating element is a pain to clean around. But- at $50.... I'll put up with it for a while.... it will eventually die of old age- and then.... THEN my friends- I will find the perfect kitchen appliance. (However, with my luck... this microwave will live forever, out of spite. No worries- this Knight-ess of clean (clean enough that is) is capable of leaving a spoon into a cup of tea and reheating it until it either: A) causes a nuclear meltdown- thus destroying the evil microwave or B) Scares everyone in the house with sparking and noise enough to warrant a replacement for breach of trust.

I need to get out more. 'Nuff said.

Please note- I am fully aware that I could have cleaned every Microwave in Michigan in the time it took to post this....but this, my friends, is considerably more therapeutic.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

In Which Smugness leads to Stupidity.....Or: Knitting fights back;)

problem and solution?I usually smile a smug little smirk when I come across the knitting directions : "Being careful not to twist."

"Do you think I'm an idiot?" I wonder to myself.

Today- I may have proved myself to BE an idiot. The evidence started mounting on Friday, actually. That's when I cast on the 10 bazillion stitches of icord for a new sweater. A lovely colorful sweater, in fact. Ruth Sorenson's "Autumn Cardigan." I had ordered yarn, swatched (I NEVER swatch) and finally, cast on.

After 3 failed attempts and several panic attacks concerning the length of the required icord, I picked up the required stitches in 2 colors, and started the colorwork ribbing. Whew.

knit knit knit, purl purl purl. For nearly 6 days. This morning, After my second cup of coffee. (Optimum time to start knitting for the day.) I took a close look at the project in question. The colors are working together nicely, the ribbing looks good, I'm happy with the consistency of the fabric and the icord snapped into size once I started the ribbing, as it should have. "I am the sweater master. " I thought.

That's when I noticed the twist. A twist is NOT part of the pattern.

5 or six times I tried to smooth the stitches on the needle. I thought (hoped) it must be the way I was holding it. Finally, I laid it on the kitchen table, smoothed the 327 stitches carewfully, and found it was true. I ws knitting a moebius sweater. CRAP.

I growled. (Literally, not figuratively) I stomped my feet. I frowned, and then, well after a careful look-round, I threw my knitting on the floor. My teenagers laughed. The dog sniffed to see if I had thrown her a colorful treat. The youngest put his fingers in his ears and continued watching "sprout". Feeling like QUITE the idiot, I picked it back up. I growled again. I showed them my moebius. They laughed again. I said it was a homeschool demonstration. They didn't believe me.

I finished another cup of coffee. Then set about considering my options:

1) We're buried in snow at the moment-(hence the boys are home to witness my shame) -- so burying it in the yard sounded feasible. However, - I knew that (like things the dog leaves in the snow) as soon as the snow melted it would return to haunt the knitter who'd created it.

2) I considered ripping it all out. While beautiful in color--- the Kauni is just too "sticky" and rough to have that be a best case.

3) I thought about losing it in the stash, viable option, but I would be sweaterless.

4) I nearly ripped back to the icord and started again.....

Finally- I decided to take a risk. This sweater is constructed with "steeking" . The sweater has stitches down the front that would later be cut through to turn a tube of knitting, into a cardigan. I looked at the twist. I found my lucky leopard scissors. I told myself "It's JUST knitting." Trust the process.

Then- I cut up my knitting. *gasp* Typically- you would steek after a garment is finished being knit, AFTER sewing a line of reinforcement stitches. But, I didn't have that much room. I held my breath after I cut. I picked it up. I looked at it. I had expected it to run like a cheap pair of nylons. It didn't.

I CAREFULLY untwist it. I started knitting, again. By george... I think I fixed it! I immediately graduated from "idiot" to "brilliant". Yet another reason to love knitting. Like a roller coaster of yarn.... one minute you're up... the next one you're down.... there is always another hill to climb!

Now I'm just hoping this excitement doesn't smite me on the backside by having all the stitches unravel before I can reinforce them......and praying that my guage doesn't result in a sweater of either mythic or microscopic proportions....... But- I can guarantee this--- no more smugness when I read the directions.

Smugness = Overconfidence. Confidence = appropriate risk... OVERconfidence= stupid mistakes.

Point learned. (I hope;)

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Monday, March 03, 2008

"In Which, I Forget I am The Mother"- or "How to lose by Winning"

"No. No games today- you've been online WAY too much, we're having a family day." As the words came out of my mouth, I knew there about to be a fight. I was ready for a knock, down drag out, go the distance, epic type, battle. In my arsenal, I held both the classic Mom weapons of: "Because, I Said So" and "As long as you live under my roof, you'll do as I say." And- a Mom's best weapon- I was right. Balance had gone out the window with a new online game to conquer.

However- my being right was quickly lost in doing wrong. Apparently, I wasn't the only one prepared for a fight. The child with whom I engaged in battle- is most certainly, his mothers son. We verbally dodged and paried for half an hour. He gave (loud) reasons why the weekends should be his to do what he wants, and I gave (even louder) reasons why he WOULD be doing what I said. During the battle, I forgot I was the Mother, and- quite possibly forgot what the argument was even about. It was no longer about making time to be together... it was about MAKING my kid (now, really a man) do what I said.

At one point, I looked over to find the youngest, trying to watch the Disney Channel with his fingers in his ears. He looked like a bystander in terrorist attack... waiting for a stray round that might hit...The yelling finally ended, but the emotion did not. The computers stayed off and everyone got ready for church. We were even EARLY. (That does not happen often.) However, the car ride was eerily quiet. There were short bursts of attempted conversation, but we all knew it was just to cover the anger and hurt that we felt from the battle bruises. Winning didn't feel like I'd hoped.

Church started and a video played. It was a family "connecting" via text, blog and cell, but not with each other. I looked at the notes in our program they were entitled "MySpace, or Ours?" Over the next few minutes- music, video and message communicated the message that had been lost in our verbal battle. We laughed "the unfomfortable, this is too like our morning, laugh" and he kept elbowing me though out the service. "Can you believe THIS is what church is about today??? It's weird!" He said.

"It's God." I said back.... In thaqt short hour or so, both of our attitudes had changed. I watched this Man/Boy respond to God through the ministry of the service. I watched him squirm, under the gentle conviction of an unbalanced life reflected on, and I squirmed along side of him, under conviction of another sort.

I didn't think I was wrong. But- I knew I had DONE wrong... The same message that I had wanted to communicate to Him, was communicated through out the entire service- with humor, with creativity and with respect. All tools that I both profess and possess, but threw out the window as soon as I forgot I was the Mom and started a death match over control.

We spent the afternoon at the Outdoorama. (I feared permament blindness from all the camouflage.) We ate junk food (nothing like a concession stand corn dog. YUM.) and I watched all three kids and their Dad fish in a giant bathtub. (I mean a trout pond...;) No less than 4 times throughout the day, my oldest said he was glad we had spent it together, and that knew we were right. (The Dad had wisely stated his opinion without actually getting caught up in our battle... a very wise man.)

This morning, it hit me. My son was more mature than I was. He had admitted he was wrong, he had allowed God to change his attitude. I however, had not. I wasn't wrong in what I said... but I was wrong in how I said it. Crap. I hate that.

The bus will bring him home this afternoon, and I will be here, waiting to apologize.......for forgetting I was the Mom;)

"Dear Lord- ... I love you - and ask you to help me to communicate in a way that honors you and the children you've entrusted to my temporary care. Help me to DO right as well as BE right! amen."

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"She Speaks" Contest at Laced WIth Grace!



shespeaks.jpgI'm excited to announce an awesome contest at Laced With Grace! The LWG Team is excited to announce the offering of a $250 partial scholarship to the Proverbs 31 Ministries She Speaks Conference! Here are the details of entering... from the LWG site:

"Because there are so many of you who dream of writing, speaking, working in ministry, or being a better blogger, we decided this would be a great opportunity to help one of our readers take a step closer to their dream. To achieve this, Laced with Grace is thrilled to team up with the Proverbs 31 Ministries to offer a partial scholarship for the upcoming She Speaks Conference.
This conference offers something for everyone. The conference date is June 20- 22, 2008 and will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel Resort & Conference Center in Concord, North Carolina. In addition to the writing, speaking and ministry tracks offered this year the conference is including workshops tailored for bloggers.
To read more about She Speaks (click here).Our contest prize is a voucher valued at $250.00 to be applied to a conferee’s registration. The winner will still be responsible for the remaining portion of their conference fee as well as transportation and all other expenses.To enter our contest drawing all you need to do is stop in and leave a comment as well as the words; “enter me.” You can enter once a day, so stop in everyday and leave us a comment from March1st through the 31st on the daily devotionals. Each day you enter we will drop your name into the virtual basket and on March 31st we will randomly draw a name. We will announce the winner on April 1st – no fooling!

Some of the writers for Laced With Grace will be in attendance and would love to meet you there. Thank you again for joining us at Laced With Grace. We pray the words you read here inspire you, fill you up, and most of all honor the Lord Jesus Christ.

To add the Laced With Grace button to your sidebar (click here).

I've been writing devotionals with the team at Laced With Grace since September 2006, I can tell you- the team over there is incredible! (I'm often surprised, and always honored, that they let me play in their virtual sandbox;)

Everyday, you can click and find a fresh devotional, something shared from the heart of another woman on the journey. Each woman at LWG is unique, each has varied experiences and passions. Our paths are diverse, but our journeys goal is the same... to find ourselves closer to God than we were before.

I hope you'll click over and enter the contest- I also hope you'll click over and meet some of my sister-girls!

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