Dec 24, 2010

A Little Pre-Holiday Post

First off, before I start my post:

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all my blog friends. May you have a wonderful New Year. This will most likely be the last post of 2010 for me. I might try to do a recap of the year on New Years Eve but I make no promises. 

It's thawing outside....woohoo! The temps are a warmer and the snow is melting. It looks like we'll still have snow on the ground for Christmas so technically it'll be a white Christmas but no new snow is expected. I can't say that I'm disappointed. Ice jams made a mess of a portion of road here in town that is down near the river. The water overflowed onto the road and froze. It feels weird to say that we are under a flood warning and flash flood watch in the middle of winter.

I've actually been doing a little knitting since my last post. Well the post before the last post since my last one was a distraction with puppy cuteness post. 

I finished Bree's Christmas socks. 

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These are the Lacy Rib Socks (ravelry)(non Ravelry). The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd sock, colorway Iris Garden. It's an easy pattern, perfect for tv knitting but is a bit more interesting then plain stockinette socks. I may make a pair for myself in the future.

A doll blanket (ravelry)(non ravelry) for Kaity's American Girl doll.

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Kaity has one of the daybed doll beds from Target  and it only comes with the blanket for the bed and nothing for the trundle bed. I used some sugar and cream cotton yarn from my stash. It used less then 200 yards. Yes I know I could have just made my own pattern up but that would have require a bit more effort then I wanted to put into it at the moment. I'm planning on browsing my stitch pattern books and make something a little lacy with some Dream in Color Classy. I have a full skein of purple leftover from Bree's sweater. One can never have to many blankets for your doll bed.

Scrunchable Scarf (ravelry)(non ravelry).

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I really love this scarf pattern. It's so simple you don't need a pattern. This is one of the scarves I'm making for the 2011 Special Olympics. The drop off for Montana is here in Great Falls so I can take them in instead of having to mail them this year. The yarn is Red Heart Super Saver color numbers 886 and 512. If you're interested here's the website with all the info. I know some of the states have already hit their deadlines but you can knit for any state.

I've also started a new pair of "on the go" socks for myself.

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These always take a little longer since I normally only work on them when I'm not at home. The yarn is Opal Rainforest, Flamingo colorway. I'm using my basic toe up pattern with a short row heel. I haven't decided if I'll do a ribbed cuff or a picot edge.

I'll be soon be starting my knitting project for my TLE swap partner. I really need to finish the last test knit I'm working on. I'm about halfway through so it won't be long. I'm not sure if she reads my blog (have a good number of subscribers but a lot of people don't comment) but I have it linked to my Ravelry account so she can easily visit so I won't post anything to give it away. I can say that I'm pretty sure I've found yarn and a pattern to knit that I think she will love.

Now on to some puppy pictures. I know there are a few of you out there that want some new pictures of Penelope. 

I snapped this one the other day.

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Zeus crawled into Penelope's crate and fell asleep. Penelope decided she was tired too and crawled in to take a nap with him. He woke up when she crawled in, gave to low, short growls then laid his head down and went back to sleep.

This one was taken a couple of days ago.

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Bree decided to crawl into Penelope's crate and play with her. They stayed in there for a good 20 minutes. Penelope actually likes her crate and will crawl in there to sleep when I'm not sitting somewhere where she can lay across my feet.

I'll leave you with this video of Zeus and Penelope playing with one of the stuffed toys.


It warms my heart to see those to finally playing together. Not to say Zeus doesn't still growl at Penelope because she's being a pain in the butt. In the background you'll probably hear a bunch of girly screams. Shawn kept scaring the girls and at one point Bree ran into the room where I was at. 

Dec 12, 2010

Shall I Distract You with the Cute Puppy?

I have absolutely no knitting to show you so I'm going to tempt you to forget about it with the puppy cuteness of Lady Penelope. (there's a video posted below so if you're using a feed reader it may not show up in your reader)


She has such a deep bark for a little puppy. She actually doesn't bark much which from what I gather is a Springer Spaniel trait. Mostly the barking comes about when she wants to play. The more you talk to her the more she barks back. I can't believe how big she's getting. I'm not sure what her weight is but she needs to go in to the vet next week for her next round of shots.

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Zeus is still fairly indifferent to Penelope. After she ran off to get a drink Zeus looked up at me as if to say "do we really have to keep her mom?" He still runs around and plays with her upstairs and outside so he's definitely adjusting. 

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How this could possibly be comfy I don't know but she stayed like that for over 30 minutes before she woke up to play.

Penelope is still my little toe warmer. I've actually had her lay across my feet while trying to do the dishes. After talking with the breeder she said that Penelope's daddy does the same thing. He loves to know where his humans are. Speaking of toe warmers she's laying across my feet right now. I'm sure that's going to be fun when she hits 40 pounds and curls up on my feet. 

Oh I do have one knitting related thing to share. I did get in my final shipment from the Unique Sheep's Lord of the Rings sock club. If you want to check it out, CLICK HERE

I did join up for YOSS (Year of Stash Socks). It's a pressure free KAL and it's a great way to knit down some of that sock yarn stash. There will be patterns to knit each month so I'm looking forward to seeing the pattern list when it's posted.

Hopefully I'll be back soon to post about some knitting I can actually show you. After these test knits are done I need to finish up Bree's socks for Christmas and get started on my Special Olympic scarves. I have until Feb but I'd rather get them done and in the mail before the deadline. I also have to knit something for my TLE Swap partner so I won't be able to post about that.

Dec 6, 2010

Looking Forward to Warmer Temps

The weatherman keeps promising warmer temps but unfortunately he has been wrong in the past and I can no longer trust his information. This time he's promising a warm up into the 40's (that's Fahrenheit) for Tues and Wed which means snow melt....woohoo! The snow has been around since a few days before Thanksgiving. I think it's time for it to go away. I guess time will tell if he's telling the truth or not. According to the local paper we got a total of 19.5 inches of snow in the month of Nov.....yikes! Actually it didn't starting snowing until like mid-Nov so that's almost 20 inches of snow in a two week time frame. Wonder what the totals are for the higher elevations. Our elevation is under 4,000 feet.

We had freezing fog the other day and while it made a bigger mess of things it was rather pretty to see all the naked trees covered in a layer of white.

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It kind of reminded me of the years when my parents had their christmas trees flocked. I remember one year the flocking was so thick the tree looked like it was hit with a blizzard. We use a fake tree in our house and I do miss the lovely pine smell in the house with a real tree. We decided to use a fake tree because the idiot cat we use to have ate all things green and it was easier to use a fake tree then to clean up cat vomit. We might do the real tree thing when we get our own home.

The tree shortly after we set it up.

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It now has a star that lights up on top. I've put the poor angel up for now. She doesn't sit very well on the tree. She was designed to fit over the top of a real tree so she's be retired for now. 

I have been doing a bit of knitting. Right now I'm working on test knits but before they came in I finished Kaity's socks and made good progress on Bree's.

Kaity's socks are done! The pattern is Lovely Lace Socks (ravelry)(non ravelry). 

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The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd sock in the Tickled Pink colorway. I think Kaity is really going to like them. Her feet are still small enough that I can get a pair of socks out of a 50g skein of yarn and still have leftovers to make socks for Bree.

Bree's socks are almost to the heel flap. 

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The pattern is Lizzie's Lacy Rib Socks. (ravelry)(non ravelry). The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd sock in the Iris Garden colorway. I'll be able to knock these out in another day or so. I just need to finish up the test knits I'm working on.

Zeus is giving me the "Mom why the hell did we have to get a puppy?" look and yes he really needs to go see the groomer.

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He's still iffy on the puppy now that she's home. He'll play with her outside and upstairs when we take the girls up to put them in bed but he wants nothing to do with her when we're downstairs.....silly little dog. Oh and her name is Penelope or Penny for short. We still haven't decided on her full AKC registration name but at least she has a name.

I'll finish this post with a puppy picture.

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Penelope sacked out under my desk. She's so angelic when she's sleeping. Then of course she wakes up and the terror begins. I can't believe how much she's grown since we brought her home and she hasn't been home with us a full week yet. 

Dec 3, 2010

Puppy Cuteness Overload

As promised a post dedicated to the new puppy. No she does not have a name yet. She's an English Springer Spaniel. Her color is liver and white and she has the prettiest hazel eyes. We're all undecided on her name. I did crack up when I found out her mommy's name is Calamity Jane and her daddy is Duke of Doom. Those are great names. I'm going to make it easy and embed the slide show of pics of puppy girl.

She's my new toe warmer. If I'm setting in my computer chair you can pretty much figure that she's going to be laying on my toes. I must say that she's by far the smartest dog in the world....course I am a little bias. Potty training is going great and she's learning very quickly the rules of the house. Generally a clap of the hand and a firm No makes her stopping doing wrong and she moves on to the next new thing to get into. 

Zeus is kind of meh about her right now. He was fine with the puppy out at the ranch and he has no problem playing outside with her but wants nothing to do with her wants they get in the house. 

I'll have to try to get some video and photos of her playing in the snow. She loves to to bounce around in the snow.


Nov 30, 2010

Stupid Snow

With the snow we got the before Thanksgiving came the not so wonderful subzero temps....ugh! Shawn has been very thankful for buying the snow thrower this well spent! If I had to guestimate it'd say we've got a good 6-8 inches of snow on the ground. Course some of that started to melt today and tomorrow it's suppose to hit almost 40F. I think the lowest we dropped during the cold snap was around -40F (yup thats a negative in front of the 40...brrrr) with the windchill. That's just way to cold for me. Thankfully the cold snap broke the other day and we're now back to more normal winter temps, which is funny since we haven't hit the official first day of winter yet. Unfortunately it looks like the cold and snow are heading back our way this weekend. Mother Nature is just teasing us right now with these almost lovely sunny days.

I finished my Rainbow and Cloud socks. 

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I really like how these turned out. The yarn base used for this yarn is so soft and cozy. I'm hoping she puts up more of the Ribbon Candy self striping. I'm normally not a girly colored yarn person but I love the Ribbon Candy colorway! I'd love to get a skein soon. There's more then enough yarn to make a pair of socks for myself and one of the kiddos.

Kaity's socks are very close to being done.

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I think I have about 2 inches left before starting the toe and then it's on to Bree's socks. That's the extent of my Christmas knitting.

Other then that, I haven't done much knitting that I can show you. Mostly it's been test knits and for obvious reasons I can't post about that out on the blog. I have a few more test knits in route. Right now I'm trying to finish up some old WIPs before I start anymore new projects. 

On a bright note, puppy girl will be coming home tomorrow morning. Course I'm posting this at night so most of you will probably read this in the morning. I'll post some pics out here on the blog in the next few days. We're so excited to be bringing her home! The breeder is giving her a bath tonight and she's going to bring the puppy with her to work tomorrow morning. We have an invitation to go out to their ranch this summer for a visit and take the girls fishing. We've been working on puppy proofing the house and have the front half of the house blocked off where the girls playroom, front door and stairs are.

Nov 17, 2010

Brrrrr....It's Cold Outside

Winter is definitely kicking it into gear now. Looking at this weeks forecast I'm wondering if maybe Mother Nature isn't trying to make up for lost time since we had all that warmer then normal weather.

Remember the pic I posted last month where the sun was shining and it was gorgeous outside. Well here's a refresher:

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Now you remember? Alrighty's what it looks like this afternoon. Shawn is now very happy that he got the snow thrower. Instead of spending an hour shoveling snow it took him about 15 minutes to clear our stuff and another 15 minutes to clear the sidewalks in front of our neighbors on each side of our house.

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Here's a shot of the back yard....its sad but I just typed yarn instead of yard.

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Needless to say I've opted to stay home and drink tea instead of going out in this stuff. We were going to go out to PetCo last night but the roads were so slick that we decided to stay home. It rained for part of the day yesterday and then the temps started dropping in the early evening and by the the time it was bedtime for the girls we were seeing snow. Rain + Drop in temps + snow = nasty roads and lots of accidents. In a four hour period yesterday there were over 50 accidents here in town.

I've been working on Kaity's Christmas socks.

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The pattern is Child's Lovely Lace socks (ravelry)(non ravelry)...the non rav link is to Patons website so you will have to be logged on your account to view it. The pattern is one of their freebie patterns. The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd sock in the Tickled Pink colorway. These have been set aside so I can work on some test knits but they aren't going to take long to finish. It'll take even less time to finish up Bree's Christmas socks.

I also received my order from Knit Picks.

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This is one of the sock yarn kits that was on sale. It came with four different colors of Stroll Tonal sock yarn and a pattern booklet that contains 12 different patterns. This kit with the purple yarn isn't for sale anymore but they do have the other two for sale. $25.99 for 4 skeins of sock yarn and 12 patterns is a pretty good deal.

That sums it up for now. 

Happy Crafting!


Nov 15, 2010

Gaining A New Family Member

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who posted/emailed me about Shadow. We miss her so much. We donated some of her things to a local pet rescue place that runs off of volunteers and donations. I think Shadow would be happy with the fact that some abandoned/abused dog was using her stuff.

We have made the decision to get another dog. We went out to a ranch near Stockett, MT to look at Springer Spaniel puppies. We wanted to see if we would be sad at being near the puppies but we were all happy and decided to get one of the liver and white little girl puppies. Here's a pic that the lady took of the girls with the puppy we picked out.

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Actually Zeus is the one that ultimately helped us decide which on. His tail was going a million miles an hour when when he sniffed her.

Shadow can never be replaced and we opted not to get another Cocker Spaniel right now which is probably a good decision since we saw a black Cocker Spaniel that I swear was the spitting image of Shadow when she was younger. We were all close to tears watching the dog walk by. The owners were kind enough to stop and talk to us for a few. We will get another Cocker again some day.

On the knitting front I've been pretty busy. After the round of steroids I started feeling a bit better. Not good enough to run a marathon but more normal then I had been feeling.

I finished my moms Catnip Socks (ravelry)(non ravelry).

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The yarn is Zen Yarn Garden Bling sock yarn. The colorway is Blue Spruce. Great yarn, great pattern. I really need to drop a box off in the mail to her soon.

Started and finished a new winter cowl for myself. 

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The pattern is Turtle Tracks Cowl (ravelry)(non ravelry). The yarn is Knit Picks Gloss HW. Awesome little pattern and wonderful yarn. I really enjoyed knitting on this one. I used all but 12 inches of yarn. This was knit with only one skein. Unblocked it's around 11 inches tall and it's 20 inches round. I'm pretty sure it's going to grow a little with blocking. I'm trying out the yarn to see if it's good for a sweater. If it survives the abuse from being used all the time this winter then it will make a good sweater for me. I definitely abuse my cowls way more then I do my sweaters.

I finished my cousins baby blanket in record time....took me 10 days total.

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The pattern I finally decided on was Pamela's Blanket (ravelry) which incidentally was none of the ones I originally picked from. The yarn is Knit Picks Comfy worsted. It's perfect for baby blankets. It's machine washable and it's extremely soft. I'm amazed I knit this so fast because baby blankets tend to bore me. Guess I realized that this one had a shorter deadline. I need to drop it in the mail on payday.

I'm cruising right along on my sock yarn blanket. 

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I've started the second row. It'll be a nice blanket to snuggle under when I'm done with it. 

My Lord of the Rings sock club package came in.  

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Love it! I'm a sucker for green. One more package to go and the Lord of the Rings club will be done.

I've also received my TLE sock club package....CLICK HERE FOR A SPOILER PIC! This was the last one for this year and it's gorgeous!!! I have the option to re-up for next year and I'll definitely go for a second year. All the packages have been great this year. Some of them are ones I probably wouldn't have picked for myself but I loved them anyway.

I picked up a skein of each color to make scarves for the Special Olympics this year. It's a project that is near and dear to my heart. One of my cousins has Down Syndrome. I've been to a good number of Special Olympics to cheer on my cousin. It's Red Heart Classic yarn that I have to use but using the acrylic is sooooo worth it for me. If you can please stop by the Red Heart Special Olympics Scarf site and pledge to knit/crochet a scarf or two.

On a medical related note, my RA doc has added Methotrexate to the list of pills I have to take. This one only has to be taken once a week so that's a relief. So far I haven't had any side effects so that's always good. I guess nausea is one of the most common along with dizziness and headaches. Apparently I have a cast iron stomach so all is well. Unfortunately it could take up to 12 weeks for this stuff to kick in and really do its job.

I leave you with this:

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Bree in her "going to work" uniform. Cracked me up when she told me that she was dressed for work. She never did tell me what she did for work. 

Nov 10, 2010

Loss of a Dear Friend

Today we had to put our beloved Cocker Spaniel to sleep. She had liver cancer (which we didn't know about) that had spread to all but a very small portion of her liver. We didn't want her to suffer in pain.

We had her in our lives for almost 12 years. She will be missed greatly by everyone of us in the family. Rest in peace our beloved furry protector.

Oct 13, 2010

I Think It May Be Fall!

Ah, cooler temps are finally showing up here. It seems so weird because wearing shorts in the middle of Sept is not the norm for here in this area and definitely not in October. Of course as soon as it starts dumping snow on us I'll be complaining about it being too cold. At least Shawn bought a snow thrower which will make my life much easier when he isn't home.

Shawn was told that he has to go to the NCO Academy now that he has passed his PT (physical training) test. Yup, he finally passed it. Failing his PT test is what got our orders to Germany cancelled. I still regret that we didn't go. While it would have been a major pain in the butt at first I think it would have been a wonderful experience. So anyway, Shawn's been selected to go to in January to Colorado for 6 weeks. They wanted him to go now but with my med issues still not figured out he doesn't want to leave. At least if I hurt too badly he can help me out around the house or help me get to the doctor. If my meds are still an issue in January we can get the class pushed back again. I'm really hoping that my pain is better by then though. I shudder to think that I will still be feeling like this several months from now. The steroids worked great but I finished up the last of the pack the other day and I can feel the stiffness and pain coming back.

The tree guys came back and gave us a new tree....woohoo!

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Here's hoping the poor thing survives the winter. The tree provides a bit of shade on this window which unfortunately is's about 6 feet tall by about 6-7 feet wide. I wanted to put some curtains up to make the girls playroom look a little more homey and friendly but the damn things are going to be expensive. I need to check into the cost for a valance for the window which should be a bit cheaper plus it can most likely be used when we move. The whole house is painted white, the ceiling fans are white and the carpet is a boring gray....looks like the carpet is dirty kind of gray. I seriously need a little color in this house that isn't going to require days worth of repainting walls when we move. I swear they would have put put white door knobs on but I think they got a better deal on the cheapo tacky gold ones that are on every door in this house. 

I'm making great progress on my moms Rosalind Shawl (ravelry)(non ravelry). 

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This is a great knit and it's going quickly. I just started the 5th repeat of Chart B. There are six repeats of Chart B before moving on to Chart C. It does seem a little small but I know it will grow a lot when I block it. It's amazing how much lace grows after a good soak in wool wash. My Bee Fields and Whispering Pines shawls looked small until I blocked them and they are huge. Ah, the powers of blocking!

My Rainbow and Cloud socks are working up quiet nicely.

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I've placed my waste yarn where I want to knit the heel and I'm just going to keep going till I get close to running out of yarn. I want to make these as long as I can.

I started a pair of socks for my mom.

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The pattern is Catnip Socks (ravelry)(non ravelry) and the yarn is Zen Yarn Garden Bling! in the Blue Spruce colorway. I don't really need to rush on these since it's still in the 90s at home and it doesn't appear that there will be a drop in temp anytime soon. So needless to say moms not really wearing handknit socks much right now. 

I've been working on making some new dishrags for my Granny. 

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The pattern is Grandmother's Favorite (ravelry)(non ravelry) which is my favorite basic dishrag pattern. Granny is staying with my mom for the winter so I have the whole winter to get a stack of them made for her. I'm off to a pretty good start though. Six done so far and number 7 is on the needles. I think I'll stop when I hit 10 dishrags. She's also requested some nylon scrubbies so I'll start those after I finish the dishrags.

Yarn order from Knit Picks came in today.

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The purple yarn is Comfy Worsted and is going to be used to make a blanket for my cousin who is due in November. My cousin is having a little girl! Yippy I get to knit for a little girl again. It's been boy after boy in my family so it'll be a nice change to knit something girly. I haven't settled on a pattern yet. I have three picked out. These are all Ravelry Links: blanket 1, blanket 2, blanket 3 and blanket 4. I want something simple since I don't have a whole lot of time to knit this. I'm leaning towards blanket 1 or blanket 4.

The rest of the yarn is mine to try out and make a few new cowls for myself because I didn't want the purple yarn to be lonely and I needed to hit the free shipping mark. The dark green is Capra DK (merino/cashmere blend), the red one on the right is Gloss HW (merino/silk blend) and the red on the left is City Tweed HW (merino/donegal tweed blend). I want to see who I'd like any of these for a sweater. I wear cowls a lot in the winter so if after being abused and washed all winter they still look good then they'll work for a sweater. My cowls tend to get a lot of wear because they rub against my jacket and then there is the constant wear on them from getting pulled over my head and stuffed in a pocket. I think they get more abuse then a sweater ever would.

I'm expecting my Lord of the Rings shipment in any day now and I ordered a new row counter bracelet that has a clasp instead of the toggle so I'll post about them in my next post. I'll probably start the baby blanket by this weekend, provided I can settle on a pattern. I'm trying really hard to get back into a regular blog posting habit.

Oct 8, 2010

Knitting Knitting Everywhere

I have lots of knitting stuff to post about and a few non-knitting goodies too. Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post. My RA doc has given me a round of methylprednisolone and it seems to be working. It's just a 6 day dose pack but he wanted to give me something to help bring down the inflammation while he waits for the metric crap ton of tests he is running on my blood. The lab vampires pulled 6 tubes of blood. I think they should have given me juice and a cookie. The Red Cross does when you donate blood. ;~)

We got our first snow back in the middle of September. 

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Look I have a picture to prove it! It wasn't much and it never stuck to the roads but with the nice weather we've been having since then it was hard to believe it had ever snowed. If I remember correctly the year we had 30+ inches of snow dumped on us in December we had very mild fall weather. The girls only wore a light weight sweater to go trick or treating that year.

I got enough money in my yarn destash to buy the electric kettle I really wanted.

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I picked up the Cuisinart PerfecTemp Electric Kettle. It has 6 different temp settings and a keep warm function that keeps your water at the temp you set for 30 minutes. It also has a cordless base so no more plugging and unplugging it to fill it up. It's one of the best reviewed multi temperature electric kettles I came across and the price while a bit high isn't bad for a multi temp kettle. I'm definitely getting my moneys worth out of it. We have a wonderful little tea shop (In Cahoots for Tea) here in town that fuels my tea addiction. They have a wonderful selection of loose leaf teas and I don't have to pay shipping and handling to get new teas.

New sheepy pj pants.

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Aren't these the cutest things you've ever seen? I found them on sale at JcPenney's the other day. Cute and on sale! That's a great combo in my book. 

I think we'll start with finishes projects first and then move on to goodies I've got in the mail.

I finished my Stripey Socks I was knitting for the TLE 3rd Quarter challenge.

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I was going to knit a fancy pair of colorwork socks but this was about all my brain and hands could handle at the time. The yarn is TLE's new solid sock yarn line and the colorways used are Strawberry and Smoke. The pattern is my own basic toe up sock pattern with a short row heel and a picot cuff.

I finished my blue striped "on the go" socks.

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These are my basic toe up sock recipe with a short row heel and picot cuff. The yarn is Fortissima Socka, color # 9094. This yarn has been marinating in my stash for years. It was a gift from a dear friend. I didn't bother to match up the stripes because I've learned that leads down the path to madness. I tried that once with some Patons Kroy sock....lets just say I said some very inventive cuss words and threw the skeins across the room. If I can't match it in less then 30 seconds they get knit as mismatched socks. I honestly don't care if they aren't perfect matches.

My Sun Ray Shawl (ravelry)(non ravelry it's a free pattern from elann but you have to log on to view them) is finished. 

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I finished this one up the other day. The yarn was originally being used for a Mara shawl but I quickly got bored with it and went searching for another pattern. The yarn is Araucania Natures Wool Multy, colorway #415. I still have some left over and haven't decided what to do with it. It's a bit scratchy so I won't be making a cowl of it.

I started the Rosalind Shawl (Ravelry)(non Ravelry) for my mom. 

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The yarn is Dream in Color Baby and the colorway is Blue Sage. I picked up some beads from Earthfaire. They're 4mm frosted Megatamas. Cables, lace and beads....what more could a gal ask for.

New pair of "on the go" socks.

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My basic toe up pattern. The yarn is from KnitPurlGurls Etsy shop, the Rainbows and Clouds colorway. I'm using some coordinating red yarn for the heels and toes and I'll use an after thought heel to keep from breaking up the stripes.

Now on to yarn that I've gotten in the mail. First up is some Woolen Rabbit Harmony Sock.

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The colorway is called Boysenberry....yum! Purchased it through a friends destash.

Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Sport.  

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This was a custom dye job. The colorway is called Spruce Tree and it's absolutely perfect! Roxanne did an awesome job with this one. I'm planning on knitting Poplar and Elm (ravelry)(non ravelry).

I purchased a new case for my Knit Picks Options Interchangeable needles and cables.

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This has got to be the best case I've come across. Here's the Etsy site. The only thing I might do is buy some elastic to run across the top of the needles to make sure they're definitely in there secure. I was browsing for cases on Etsy when I came across one that was pink and well I'm generally not much of a pink person so I contacted the shop owner to see if she could custom make one for me. In addition to the different fabric she also added more pockets for mine. It was absolutely wonderful working with her for this custom order. Now I need to find the perfect case for my sock needles. I Magic Loop so I need to find a good case to hold all my 32" and 40" needles.  

I've also received some kits but don't want to post photos so as not spoil it for some one. I'll link to my Flickr account. Here's the ones I've received: Wicked Witch Returns, Divinely Inspired Cupcake Kit, and Lollipop Guild. All of these are kits from Woolgirl.

Wow, that was a long picture filled post. I think that sums up everything quiet nicely. Hopefully I'll be back soon with an update on the socks I'll be starting for my mom using some ZYG Bling! sock yarn.

Oct 4, 2010

Non Knitting Related Post

This post has been on my mind for some time. Some people who read this blog already know some of the things I'm posting about and others I know deal with similar pain on a daily basis and can relate.

Things have been a little rough for me lately so the blog has kind of slipped into the background. I'm not sure if I've discussed my medical issues. I generally don't because I don't like pity but I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Some days are good and some days are bad. With this last medicine swap I had about 6 good months before my meds slowly stopped working and the bad days started outweighing the good days. Add in a major SNAFU (link for all you curious folks who don't know what SNAFU is) with my referral to see my RA doc not being renewed which meant no visit to doc to talk about meds being swapped until the referral was renewed. I really wished I didn't need a referral to see my RA doc but alas the damned insurance company makes me get a referral to see all specialist. There are times when I really, really hate insurance companies but on the other hand I can't imagine not having it and trying to pay for my meds every month or the $250 office visit to my RA doc 4-5 times a year. It's a bill we could not afford. Unfortunately Rheumatoid Arthritis does not have a cure and I will have to see an RA doc for the rest of my life so why should I have to continue to get permission to see a doctor I will always need to see.

Most days people see a happy smiling person who tries to make the best of what she's been dealt. They don't see the inner me who is trying very hard to not cry and let people know how badly and how much pain she is in. Feeling complaining about it and feeling sorry for myself isn't going to change things. It isn't going to make the RA go away and I still have to deal with daily life: cooking, cleaning, taking care of my kids, etc. Shawn helps out where ever he can but he works 10 hours a day, 5 days a week and here lately a lot of weekends too.

Fatigue goes hand in hand with the swelling, pain and stiffness. I have to deal with things that a lot of people don't have to deal with. If I go grocery shopping I can't clean up the kitchen. It's a matter of checks and balance. The longer I'm on my feet the more I know I will pay for it the next day and the day after that and likely the day after that too. It's a mix of trade offs for things I want to do with things I have to do. It's not something I would wish on anyone not even my worst enemy not that I have a nemesis. Although having a nemesis might help me keep my mind off the pain some days. There are days when my hands are so stiff I can't button my buttons, hold a pen and write neatly, or tie my shoes without a lot of frustration and difficulty. I've taken to wearing pants with no zippers or buttons and I wear Crocs more often then not. Even knitting can be a challenge. Normally within the first hour or two after waking up I'm not so stiff and I can continue my day in a somewhat normal manner but there are days when the stiffness never goes away and every step is a challenge. I can't get down on the floor and play with my daughters because I know it will cause me a lot of pain and will be difficult for me to get back up. I can't run after them and chase them. Everything comes with a set of challenges to overcome. Something that I use to be able to do in 10-15 minutes now takes me around 30-45 minutes on a bad day. I don't say this for pity but in hopes that I reach out and help someone understand what it's like. You won't believe the number of people that just don't get the fact that I can't be magically be fixed with some wonder drug. Yes there are a lot of drugs out there for RA but most of them come with very nasty side effects.

It makes it even harder when you come across someone who doesn't understand. It hurts when you're told well you're young, you should be able to do this. Yes I know I should be able to do this but damned it I can't and it's very frustrating. I've actually had people shake their heads in disagreement when I opt to take the elevator over the stairs. Why anyone would care that I'm taking the elevator over the stairs I don't know. The petty things that people make a big deal about still amaze me. I'm not taking the elevator because I'm lazy I'm taking it because I know if I take the stairs I could end up in so much pain I can't sleep that night. I try not to let it get to me and generally I mentally flip them off and go about my day. They don't realize that I would love to be able to go up and down the stairs without pain. I live in a two story home and have to go up and down the stairs several times a day. If I can avoid the stairs in a building that is not my home then that makes it a little easier for me when I have to go up them at home. I now have all the proper documentation in our military exceptional family member program file (yes that's right the Air Force thinks I'm exceptional because of my RA! that states we are to be placed in a single level home in base housing. It also has a provision in there that states that the Air Force can not send us anywhere that does not have a Rheumatologist. We could probably push for them to move us into a single level home but we would lose all the space (the single level 3 bedroom homes are a lot smaller) and frankly I'd rather deal with the stairs then to move our stuff again. Not to mention the fact that we have really good neighbors.

It's frustrating when you try to make them understand that you have arthritis but then they inevitably come back and say young lady you are too young to have arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis doesn't have an age limit. It strikes the very young, old and in between. I'm 32 years old and was diagnosed with RA 2 years ago. It is more common in women then it is in men. I read somewhere that approximately 70 percent of RA patients are female. I had a Physicians Assistant (PA) tell me that I didn't have RA because I didn't have a negative RA factor. After talking to my Rheumatologist I now know that the PA was wrong and that I should have been referred to a rheumatologist to make that determination. The PA wasn't even remotely close to being qualified to decide if I had RA or not. Not all RA patients have a negative RA factor. The test is not flawless and it's found that around 20% or more of the people with RA have a negative RA factor. Then to top it all off there are people who have a positive RA factor who don't have RA. It's definitely not a flawless test. I worry about the increase in risk for my daughters to develop this disease later in their lives. It's obviously not under my control and it's not my fault but yet I still worry.

I just needed to post about this. I won't hold it against anyone if they don't feel the need to comment. I've hem hawed over posting this but then I came to the conclusion that this is my blog and I can post what I want too...I now have the song It's My Party stuck in my head. I swear the weirdest stuff pops into my head. I write for myself and if people enjoy reading it then it's just a great bonus. I have met some truly wonderful people through my blog. If this helps one person understand that RA is an disease and it's not something that you get because you're getting old or makes some one want to understand what RA does to a person, hell if it makes someone think about anyone with chronic pain in a different light then my post was worth it. Chronic pain is debilitating and it not only effects the person dealing with it but everyone that is close to that person. 

Sep 8, 2010

Nada Zip Zilch...Well Almost

The title sums it up quiet well. I don't have a whole lot to post about. I have a few projects going on but I've kind of stalled on knitting. I have a few little projects that I'm working on but haven't cast on any more big projects. I really need to finish Shawn's sweater so he can wear it this winter.

On the non knitting related front our poor tree in the front yard died.

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I looked out the window the other day and noticed our dead tree was noticeably shorter. The tree chopper guys came through and lopped off the top. They should be back by the end of the week to dig up the stump and plant a new one. I don't know what happened this year but there were a lot of dead trees here on base and around town.  

I'm working on a new pair of fingerless mitts for my mom.

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The pattern is Basketry Mitts (Ravelry). The yarn is from The Loopy Ewe. It's their solid sock yarn brand in the Strawberry colorway. The yarn is really nice to work with. I'll definitely buy the yarn again.

Striped socks for The Loopy Ewe's 3rd Quarter Challenge. 

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The challenge is to make something using their new solid sock yarn brand. I was going to knit some socks with fancy colorwork but frankly my brain isn't up to the challenge right now so I opted for some simple striped socks. Their my basic toe up, short row heel sock recipe and I opted for a picot edge. The red stripe is the Strawberry colorway and the gray is Smoke.

My "On the Go" socks.

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These only get knit when I'm in the car so they take awhile to finish. The yarn is Fortissima Socka. I think in my last post I said it was Regia. This yarn has been marinating in my stash for several years now. I was originally going to use this yarn to knit socks for Shawn but he doesn't want hand knit socks.....I know the shock of it all.

And that covers all the knitting content for this post. I'm trying to get my Sun Ray shawl done so I can start my moms shawl. It's a big lace one with beads and cables so it's going to take awhile to complete.

I'll leave you with a photo of our newest addition to the household.

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Meet Mr. Blue the parakeet. He's a crack up and full of entertainment. He loves to get out of his cage and hang out with Shawn and I in the evenings after the girls are in bed.