Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Want to Make This Felted Bag

I want to make this booga bag!

I found this by inputting my new yarn stash today in my Ravelry account. Then I clicked through to see what finished projects other Ravelry members had shared. One felted bag made with a yarn I just purchased was this bag. This pattern is available for free.

I don't own the right needles. This will have to wait until I buy new needles.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Inspired, Ideas & Limited by Time

I feel so inspired to do many different projects.

I have lots of ideas.

I have limited time. I know this is true for everyone.

Lately I feel so busy with appointments, prepping for them then unpacking and winding down from them. I feel like I have no spare time for just relaxing and doing crafty things.

I have managed to knit each evening after being very busy all day long. I get into bed in my PJs, put the TV on, "watch" a show while I knit. The kids are with me for one show then off to bed they go. Then I usually watch another show and knit a bit more.

I then read a little while before shutting off the light and going to sleep.

It is kind of frustrating to have tons of ideas and feel like I have no time to do these in.

I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself to keep up with the laundry and keep the house looking decent. The recent weeding, about six hours worth last week, also took up some of my time. We have also planted our container garden on the deck. I am planting seeds and have planted tomatoes in the raised bed in the yard. I am sure the deer will eat that but my husband insists on trying.

So many creative juices are flowing through me, and I feel stifled. The knitting though shows me the progress is being made. The kids can't believe how big this wool bag is getting, which will be fulled (machine felted).

Oh, and I am doing my first postal letterbox ring. I should take the time to blog the photos but for now I'll share that I did create two handmade books with a new method learned from a book. I also designed and carved two original rubber stamps. I sent my book out with one stamp. So far two people's books and their stamp has arrived. When those come I take the stamp in theirs and stamp it into my second book that stays home with me. I take my stamp that stays here with me and put it in their book. I then send their stamp and book off to the next person in line. I wonder when the next book will arrive??

I am behind in doing one ATC swap for May. I have the idea for how to do it and I hope to do that soon. I need to make one ATC for a swap for June. I already have the idea for what to do for that. I just quit off of the swaps so when June is done I am finished.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Lots of Bees

How many different kinds of bees are here?

Can you identify them?

(Double click on the photo to view it larger.)

Photo taken in my front yard, June 2008.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Knitting Project One in Progress

Here is my first knitted project. It will be sewn into a small bag then fulled (washing machine felted). Due to shrinkage it may end up just big enough to hold a cell phone.

I was struggling with tension and it started off with too-tight stitches. Due to the fulling that will be done none of the stitches will be seen in the finished product. Therefore my imperfections will not be evident!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Small Town Living

Small town living is great.

Even on days when I have to wait for service at the post office because the sole clerk is out to lunch.

I can only assume the other postal workers are on vacation.

Knitting Error Confirmed

I mentioned in my last blog post that I was worried I was doing the Continental knit stitch incorrectly. Yesterday at homeschool park day I verified this with my friend who also knits Continental stitch.

I was going from left to right instead of the other way around. My friend says that if I continue doing just the knit stitch for this project it will be fine. However since the twist is wrong if I was trying to combine purl with knit then a disaster would ensue.

The new plan is to finish off this bag which will be machine felted (aka “fulled”). Then I will re-train my hands and mind to do the Continental stitch the proper way. The book that is helping me with this fulling is "Not Your Mama's Felting" by Amy Swensen.

Well my friend said my rows are straight and that I’m doing well for a beginner. That is nice to know!

My boys are surprised that the knitting is getting so large. I am using up balls of yarn given to me by a friend. I am on color #4 now. The bag will be striped. The stripes are uneven as I am just using all the yarn I own of each color then changing to the next color. Well I am starting each on a new row so I do have scraps left over; I didn’t go right to the very end.

I finally had my husband download the photos from my camera so hopefully soon I’ll have the time to upload some photos here soon.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

My Progress with Knitting

I thought I'd give an update on my knitting.

I chose one color of wool yarn, given to me by a friend I met through the local homeschooling chat group and who also is a reader of my blog. Using the gifted metal knitting needles (#8 I think), I started to make a rectangle. The idea was to make a felted little bag without even using a pattern. I figured the felting process would hide any errors I made.

I really struggled because I was knitting very tightly. I am trying to understand
'the right tension'. I have loosened up.

Using logic I did increases to make it wider then decreases to make it narrower at other points.

I did some shopping for books on knitting and could not find any in local stores that seemed like they could teach me the things I needed to know. It seemed so many were too sparse on directions and techniques but heavy on projects. In one tempting book they used nearly every size knitting needle and all different kinds of yarn. For some simple looking projects I would need several different sets of needles. I wanted something to do with just one set of knitting needles and maybe one skein of yarn!

Just a couple of days ago I found a book at A.C. Moore and bought it using a 50% off coupon. What I was looking for was a book with very clear diagrams of how to do the stiches and various techniques like changing the color of the yarn. I finally found the right book for me. It is called "A-Z of Knitting: The Ultimate Guide for Beginner to Advanced Knitter" by Sue Gardner. The whole book is on technique and stiches. There are NO patterns or projects. Each technique has full color photographs in many steps to clearly show what is going on. The written instructions are clear too. This is just what I wanted.

Note also I had trouble shopping for a book about knitting on Amazon becuase I couldn't see the inside of the book to check the diagrams.

Using the book I taught myself to bind off. I did that to finish the piece that is going to be the little bag. I need to get a needle that will take yarn, because I don't think I own one, I know I didn't buy one, and after that I will sew up the sides and then the little bag will be felted in my washing machine.

The book I am using for felting information about washing machine felting, and directions on how to do it is: "Not Your Mama's Felting" by Amy Swenson.

At the same time I began a second project. Using size 13 bamboo needles I cast on 100 stitches of a very thick wool yarn. This will be a larger bag of some kind.

I am just doing the knit stitch for both projects. I figure, one thing at a time.

I keep having the feeling that I am doing something wrong. According to the new book, I was doing one step backwards. I am having trouble moving the needle in the opposite way to do it like the book says. The weird thing is that the finished stitches look identical when done with either method. Next up I think I'll see if I can find a You Tube video of the Continental knit stitch to see what others say about how to do this correctly.

I have been knitting mostly in bed at night. I take it with me when I know I have to sit and wait, like in the doctor's waiting room, while sitting vigil with my dying grandmother or waiting for a carpool.

At this point I am enjoying this. I still feel very much like a beginner. The idea of following a pattern scares me to death.

I have a new appreciation for hand knit sweaters and complicated projects. I am feeling that so many of the usable items are very difficult to do. I am not rushing to push myself to do harder projects right now. Slow and steady is my pace for knitting.

My older son is begging for me to make him a blanket but honestly that may take me a full year!

I also tried to teach him to knit but it got frustrating and I gave up. One problem with that is that I don't know enough about the right way to knit to know if he is doing it right. I don't know enough about fixing errors if he makes a mistake.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Blogging Sporadic

My blogging has been and will be sporadic for a little while due to:

Grandmother getting Hospice care, setting up the care

Sitting vigil with my grandmother sans computer and Internet

Me being tired from lack of sleep

Grieving for the loss of my grandmother, processing emotions

Helping my children cope with a second grandparent's death in the last seven months

Helping make burial plans

Trying to keep up with normal life stuff

Trying to catch up on things already put off due to all of this

If I am sent links to article I may blog them but don't expect deep thoughts from me for a while as I'm just too strung out.

I'm behind on reading emails too, in case you are trying to reach me...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Surprise Meeting

I hate it when God does this. I am speaking of when a person thinks they have something to be upset about God gives them something to shake them up and to rearrange the priorities and to deal with something bigger and more important. Suddenly the old issue that we saw that felt so bothersome and looked like a mountain is now perceived as just a mole hill.

Last evening while still in the bad mood about something I got a phone call that really shocked me. My father said that Hospice called had just phoned him to schedule an urgent meeting about my grandmother that will take place this morning. The surprise is no one told us she was dying.

Based on the end of life care and Hospice experience with my father-in-law six months ago I know that the hospice agency here does not step in until it is close to the end and they also need a doctor's order to even have that meeting with the family.

I know my grandmother has not been well and has been much more sleepy. In the last month while sick with two acute, what are technically considered minor infections, she suddenly needed more help as she was sleeping more and more weak, they said, due to the infections which knocked her energy levels down. She has had care 24/7 all that time. She didn't phone me on my birthday as she was too out of it and that was not a good sign. Still, no one has said at any point along the way that she is dying!

Presently my grandmother is living alone in her own home. For a long time that is what she has wanted but about six months ago she got lonely she said she wished someone could be there for companionship on a 24/7 basis. Well as I said in the last month she has had hired help there 24/7 and the last time I saw her, about ten days ago she said she is very happy in her home with companionship and it is just what she wants. (The financial cost is basically equal to a nursing home stay and that is not something that she can afford for years!) My grandmother was hoping she'd never have to return to a nursing home. My grandmother has been asking to die for years and always said she wanted to die in her own home. She has a DNR order and a special order that if 911 is called the paramedics are not supposed to take her out of the house (I never even knew that existed, but it is on a bracelet she wears now).

Last week her doctor was on vacation and no one would speak to my father about her for an update on her condition (long-time CHF plus the two minor infections). Last night during the office's evening hours, after the Hospice call, I begged him to call the doctor's office to ask about this and he was told the doctor went home and no one else would talk to him. I know on the one hand they say American medicine is so great but in times like this it seems like the communication part at least is not so wonderful. And if the communication is not there then the entire care can be perceived as not good. It is too bad so many doctors fail on the communication part, office staff could help to make this smoother instead of just being even more of a blockade and hindrance, which is a shame.

It is important to me that in the senior years, people are allowed to live with dignity. I wish that all elderly people and also the dying (of all ages) continued to have their wishes considered instead of sometimes other situations such as family doing what they perfer or intentionally going against the desire of the patient. I feel today regarding my paternal grandmother that she is getting what she wants, being in her own home with 24/7 care, and for that I am happy. I don't know how much longer that will be possible or when/if the money will run out and if she will have to go to a nursing home and enroll onto Medicaid and have the state take her home to help defray those costs.

I decided to get the straight story I will attend this morning's meeting. I feel sorry for myself and afraid to hear news that my grandmother's heart may be completely and truly failing at this point but I keep telling myself that this is not about me, it is about her and trying to focus on getting her the care that is right and best and what she wants also. I feel like I need to pull courage out from somewhere. Prayer is helping, I'm leaning on God this morning.

(Note: this is a case where blogging something is kind of a form of therapy. I'm not looking for attention. I am just sharing from the heart. Writing this out helps me process the situation and relieves stress. I don't usually share this type of personal information on my blog, a lot goes on in my life that I never blog about!)