Thursday, April 30, 2009

Stitches! Stitches! Stitches!

I cannot believe I've been gone from Stitches South for four whole days and I have yet to blog about it! Of course, there's the whole thing about needing to see my kid (who stayed with her grandparents while I was gone), coming home and spending time with my husband, and getting the house back in order after having been gone for so long. Those things have taken up some time, but I could've written during naptime in the afternoon. It was my intention to do so. However, depsite having been completely indundated by knitting, yarn and other knitters for four days, I really wasn't ready to step away from the needles and have cast on a new project.

I'm trying to work my way through some of my older stash before getting to some of my newer and more beautiful things. One of the things in my collection is some acrylic sport weight that has been destined to become a striped zippered cardigan with a hood for Lilly Bean. I have it in LSU colors and University of Florida (we have a mixed marriage in this home). Unfortunately, I have been unable to find a pattern that I like. I really do want a simple pattern, garter borders, stockinette body, in-set sleeves and a hood. I've checked everywhere and the only patterns I've found that even resemble this are for kids no older than 24 months. Given the fact that Bean is already the size of an average four-year-old (she's two and a half), those sweaters are not going to work. So, the solution here is to venture out and become a little bit of a designer. I have a book that gives the basics of what I want to do, now I just have to put it all together. I am feeling very empowered after my trip to Stitches, aren't I? I'll keep you posted on how it goes, thus far I have only about three inches of the back done, so it really is to early to tell.

On to Stitches! I have been looking forward to this trip since around October when Lara suggested we go. For those of you who don't know our story, it's pretty simple. Lara and I grew up in the same home town and went to the same high school. We were well acquainted enough to greet each other in the halls with a smile, but did not hang out together. I remember thinking she seemed like a super nice person, but being a bit insecure, didn't reach out to become better friends with her. After graduation night, we really didn't think on each other again. Enter Facebook. While perusing FB one day, one of my other friends commented on a picture of Lara, which then popped it up on my home page for my notice. It was the same big smile I remembered from school, so I sent her a friend request mostly so I could comment on the picture. She accepted really quickly and we began chatting. We learned that we both love to knit, but we also really enjoyed talking with each other, emailing regularly and finally having a real-live-phone-conversation one day while I was walking the streets of Manhattan looking for Purl (I think she may have been talking me down from a ridiculously large purchase)! Anyhow, sometime in October, Lara sent me an email about Stitches and we quickly decided that we needed to attend. After that, we just had to wait five and a half months until we could finally hang out. Ergh! That part took FOREVER! Okay, after having typed that, maybe it wasn't quite so simple...

I won't bore you with the conversations that happened during the waiting time, needless to say, we were excited and impatient for the trip to arrive. For me, it was a chance to drop Bean off with her grandparents and act like "Sarah" again for a while. Without the responsibility of being "wife" or "mommy"! I love both of those roles, but sometimes I just need a little break.

Last Wednesday, I loaded up the car and headed to my hometown to drop Bean off at my folk's house. They had been so looking forward to having her to themselves. In fact, it was my mom's birthday the next day and she was treating Bean like her present! I was supposed to leave their house around 4:00 the next morning. Unfortunately, I woke up around 2:30 and couldn't get back to sleep, so I finally decided around 3:30 to just go ahead and get on the road. Needless to say, by the time I got to Atlanta, I was a little loopy! After a joyous reunion with Lara (why the hell weren't we friends in high school?), we headed out for a quick lunch and then on to the conference at Stitches.

Our first class, Cable Ready, was with Melissa Leapman, who is an amazing designer and such a good teacher! I think I was a little star-struck by her, I mean c'mon, a real, live, knit celebrity! We hit the Market right after that class to buy both of her books and get them autographed. They are going to go right next to my autographed copy of Martha Stewart's book! (Yes, I am aware of what a big dork I am) The Market was incredible, but we couldn't stay too long, #1 - we had to get checked into our hotel in time to shower and get ready for dinner and #2 - it was complete fiber overload! Such beautiful yarn! All over the place! We did have a lot of fun in there over the four days we were there and I can honestly say that I did my fair share to stimulate the economy! Maybe tomorrow I'll bust out the camera and photograph my stash additions!

Lara and I had a blast while we were in Atlanta. We hit Rathbun's for dinner the first night (phenominal) and Sotto Sotto the second (even better). One of my old sorority sisters joined us at Sotto Sotto and we also got to meet her fiance. It was so great seeing them both and I don't think that she could have found anyone more perfect for her! On the third and final night we headed out to Lara's friend's house to have a great dinner with some of her friends from when she lived in Atlanta. They were such a fun group. I love when I can walk into a group and feel totally comfortable. Believe it or not, I can be a little awkward in groups of new people (a hold-over from my high school days), but these folks were a blast. As were the incredible women we had the joy of meeting during Stitches.

It was such a great experience being surrounded by such a large group of creative women. Yes, there were men there, too, but there weren't very many. We met women from all walks of life and had a great time getting to the convention center early, knitting and meeting other knitters. I feel like writing about all of them, Anne from North Carolina, TJ and her crew from South Carolina, and Millie and Susan from Georgia. We even met two women from our hometown (one of whom owns a knit shop)! Unfortunately, if I write all these stories down, this post will get even longer and I may need to schedule an intermission for you to hit the potty.

Classes, oh yeah, we took classes! We took three other classes after the cable class. I loved two of them, the Joy of Finishing with Chris Bylsma was awesome! You know how I hate finishing projects. Chris made it seem so simple and was such an incredible teacher. In fact, I've already written her a thank you/fan letter! We also took a really good intarsia class with Sarah Peasley. Of the four classes we signed up for, this was the one that I was the least excited about. How mistaken was I? It was great and I'm looking forward to jumping into some colorwork in the very near future! There was only one class that I really didn't enjoy very much. It was called Columns of Color and I'm not going to call out the teacher by name. I don't want my blog to become a platform for bashing people. The technique that was used in the class to create vertical lines of color was very cool and I have nothing but respect for this very creative woman for coming up with it, but I felt like she wasn't a very good teacher and was more interested in plugging her book that teaching us any variations of the technique, like increases, decreases or anything else. In fact, I think she told us those things were "in the book". What we did learn took maybe an hour, tops, so the rest of the two hours was really kinda dull. Combine that with the fact that we had stayed up until 3:00am talking and drinking wine the night before and you have the perfect recipe for me not enjoying myself. I did not buy her book!

In spite of how much fun we were having, all good things must come to an end, and after dragging our sorry asses out of the Market, it was time to drop Lara off at the airport and then head back to my parents' house to get my Lilly Bean! It was sooooo good seeing her and getting my arms around her! Then Hubby came over the next day to see us, he had work nearby, and on Tuesday, we finally made it back to our house. I'm thrilled to be home and although now I'm back in the real world of having to go grocery shopping, doing laundry and taking care of my family, it's nice being back! My batteries are recharged.

I was a bit worried about Shinerbock while I was gone. He has never reacted well to me being out of town and with all of his health woes recently, I was especially worried. He did great though. He is responding well to his new foods and is even gaining a little bit of weight. He does seem to be having a bit of a respiratory problem, so I will check with the vet when we go back for his check-up next week, but hopefully it's nothing to worry about. Thank you all for your concern about him. He's a big part of my life.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Shinerbock has come home!

So, still not totally certain what got my baby boy so sick this week. All of his tests came back good, so there's nothing metabolically wrong with him. So, the vet treated his as though he had a gastro-intestinal infection and gave him plenty of IV fluids. She called me yesterday afternoon to tell me that he'd been holding his food down and seemed to be feeling better (read: he was hissing at the other animals, so must have more energy), so I could come get him.

We discussed his diet, since he's lost soooo much weight (he used to be a 12 pound cat, now weighs 8.75). He's a tall cat, so as you can imagine, he looks like a bag of bones right now. We've decided to put him on a mix of kitten food for the calories and some sensitive stomach food, because he's always had a sensitive tummy. I threw out the automatic feeding thing I had for him because I think that maybe having the food in it instead of a sealed container may have contributed somehow. Maybe some sort of microbe got in there or it developed a weird mold, I just don't know. He ate a lot last night when we got home and certainly didn't leave my side until Bean got up this morning. He doesn't really like her very much! He's still on two different medicines, antibiotics and an antacid. I'm not looking forward to having to administer either one of them.

So, I'm supposed to take him back in three weeks to check his progress and find out if he's gained any weight. If he hasn't then the vet says we may need to run some additional tests on him (ie cancer screens), but she didn't want to run them right away just in case it was just a stomach bug.

Thanks again for all the warm thoughts and concern. I know he's "just a cat" but I've had him for so long that it would be really hard for me to lose him.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Feline Update

Thank you all so much for your good wishes with regard to Shinerbock yesterday. I was pretty stressed (still kinda am). He's been with me for a long time and I can't imagine not having him around.

Anyhow, the vet called me last night to give me an update. They put him on IV fluids because he was very dehydrated from vomiting so much. He has also lost a lot of weight, which has been going on over the last few months. I wrote it off as him getting old, but the vet was very concerned about it. They ran a bunch of tests yesterday, beginning with blood work. His blood counts came back really good. His white blood cell count was a bit high, but not enough to worry about. The other counts were fine. Then they tested his liver and kidney functions, which also were perfect. Hmmm, he's really proving to be a mystery for the vet. Next, they tested his thyroid, which can cause all of the symptoms he's been exhibiting. Nope, thyroid is fine. So, just to be sure, she ran a test for feline leukemia and feline AIDS. That test came back clear, too. She's really not sure what's going on with the poor boy. On one hand, it's good that those tests are fine, but then again, what's causing this. It could be as simple as him having eaten something that's giving his system a hard time, but it could be something as bad as kitty cancer.

I called her this morning to check on him, but she was in with another patient. The guy that answered the phone let me know that Shinerbock had passed the night comfortably, but hadn't eaten and hasn't gone to the bathroom yet. He's still on IV fluids. The vet will call me back in a little while and discuss with me a couple of other tests they are thinking about running. I really hope they figure out what's going on soon and it's something they can treat, because it sucked not having him curled up with me last night.

I'll keep you guys posted. Thanks again for caring.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Poor Sick Kitty

Please keep your fingers crossed today for my sweet kitty, Shinerbock. We got back from Florida last night (I had been planning on telling you about our trip, but you know how things usually go when I make plans). He has vomited while we were gone, but that's nothing uncommon when he's been left alone and gets a little vindictive. But, he's done it three more times this morning, and has been letting out that really horrible meow that kitties do when they're really not feeling well. He's an old cat (15 years) and has been getting awfully skinny lately, so I'm afraid I may not get much more time with him. I have to wait another 37 minutes before I can call the vet....

Saturday, April 11, 2009

More Hometown Videos

Okay, after posting the last video, I realized there were a couple more than needed to be shared, if for no other reason than two of my former classmates read this blog and it would make them smile. Hopefully, it makes the rest of you smile too!

First, is a video about Goofy Golf, a Ft. Walton landmark! My dinosaur just tipped over!

Next, is a radio plug about the video I first shared with you guys and then the intro from one of our old local programming shows.

And finally....Choctawhatchee High School, home of the Big Green Indian! Lara - can you gigalo! "We've got our hands up high, our feet down low, and that's the way we gigalo!" I had totally forgotten that cheer! And last but not least, our fight song, so creatively named "Fight On".

In case you want to sing along, or at least join the chant at the end, here are the words:

Fight on, Big Green, hear us holler
When the team comes down the field.
Fight on, Big Green, we will follow you;
We know you’ll never yield (yell) Not a doggone yard!
Fight on, Big Green, sing her praises,
Raise your voices loud and strong!
If the evening isn’t foggy, you can hear us clear to Boggy
Singing the Choctaw Victory Song.
What’s that racket? What’s that noise?
Who are all those football boys?
It’s the team of great renown!
The Choctaw Indians are back in town!

Heading Home

It's Saturday morning and Lilly-Bean decided that we should be up really early today. So, we're sitting on the couch watching Mickey Mouse and waiting for Daddy to get up. Yeah, I know, he really should have to get up at the same time as us, but he went out with a customer last night and didn't make it back until around 1:00am, so I'm going to let him sleep. We're heading out around 10am to drive over to my hometown to see my family for Easter. My uncle and his kids are arriving from Virginia this afternoon and we decided it might be a good idea to go over and see them. Especially considering that Hubby and I have been married for three years and my uncle has yet to meet my husband! How weird it that? What makes it even worse is that Hubby and I have been together nearly ten years! I'm a pretty crappy niece, I suppose! He has met Lilly-Bean, though. Unfortunately she and I had to go up to Virginia when my grandfather was ill and then again when he died, so the family did get to see her.

Since we're heading home this weekend, I thought I would show you a video that I received last night from one of my high school friends. It really does give a good feel for the town we grew up in, even though I suspect it was made in the 50's! Not much changes around the F-dub!

I hope all of you have a great Easter weekend. Even if you're not particularly religious, it's a good time to spend with those you love and eat lovely things, including but not limited to, CHOCOLATE!

Monday, April 6, 2009


Finally, I'm taking a moment to sit down and show you guys some of the pretty things I've been making lately. Believe it or not, I haven't just been hoarding yarn, I've been making things, too!

I can't believe it's been over a month since I posted any new knitting pictures. I have been playing with yarn, I promise. In fact, I've been doing it rather than doing the things I should be doing, like housework and laundry. I've certainly been doing it instead of blogging. My priorities may be a bit off, but they are very definite - Lilly, Hubby and then knitting. Well, sometimes yarn does come ahead of's not right, but it does happen.

Anyhow, after Mardi Gras, I picked back up the socks that I had been making for Hubby (again, here's an example of my Mardi Gras socks coming ahead of Hubby's). His socks are made with Paton's Kroy sock yarn in Denim. I worked them from the toe up with cables running up both sides. I really like the cables, they give a really nautical appearance which I love since we're involved in the marine industry. I made them a bit tighter than I normally would, but Hubby likes his socks to "hug" his feet. I didn't make a reinforced heel on these because he just wears them around the house.

After I got done with his socks, I finally decided to work on the November sock kit I had from Robyn's Nest. I really enjoyed this pattern, it has a textured chevron pattern that I like, although it was hard to photograph. Robyn designs the socks for her sock club herself and I think she does a great job. What's really cool about this colorway is that what looks like strips going around the sock, is actually a spiral. I hope the recipient likes them! She won't get them for a while though, so I'll let you know later!

After making several pairs of socks, I decided it was time to work on something different. One of my dear friends and neighbors is expecting her second child in August and I decided that, rather than wait until the last second like I usually do, I was going to work on her gift now. I selected the Moderne Baby Blanket from the Mason Dixon Knitting book. It was going great until I started working on the border. I stepped out of the living room for less than two minutes and came back to discover Baby Girl with a pair of scissors. She announced to me, "I cut it" and seemed very proud of herself. I looked and it seemed like she only cut my working yarn, so, no big deal. I took the scissors away from her and told her she wasn't allowed to use them. Then I looked closer at my work. Then I frogged about two days worth of work...but it's done now and I love it, so we'll overlook the fact that the little one learned how to use scissors on my knitting. I liked the result of this project so much, I've already begun work on another one for one of Hubby's oldest friends and his wife who are expecting their first. After I finish it, I'm hoping to make some coordinating sweaters. I have a good bit of the yarn!

So, there's my adventures in knitting lately. I've been having a lot of fun.

Happy Knitting!

Grace in Small Things - 34 of 365

After another brief hiatus - I'm back!

1. Friday night with my girlfriends in my backyard with many, MANY sangrias!

2. Baby Girl sleeping in a bit on Saturday morning (but not enough for Mommy to get over the Many sangrias!)

3. Having nothing to do on a gorgeous Saturday.

4. Sunday brunch with the girls again. We did pot-luck and I swear, we couldn't have gotten a better meal at any restaurant!

5. A cold front moving through last night, so we're now in the 60's again with a beautiful breeze and sunny sky!