Friday, January 29, 2010

What a week! (and a contest notification)

Since you heard from me last, things have been a little crazy around here. I'll start out with the fun part!

Last Saturday night Hubby and I attended the Tucks Ball with a bunch of friends. I had a blast making my costume (in spite of a broken and throbbing foot). This is what can be made with about 15 yards of glitter tuille:

The picture is a bit blurry, since it was taken on my camera phone, but you get the idea! There are other pictures from the ball, but they make it abundantly clear that I was not the most sober person in the world, so I don't think I'm going to post them! The other girl in the picture is the infamous Kate (aka SB or Sugar Britches). She's the one who took care of Bean while Hubby and I were in Chicago last September. She's a Saints angel, and if you can't figure it out, that's a decapitated Viking on a stick. The ball was the night before the NFC Playoff game. I still cannot believe that the Saints are going to the SUPERBOWL!!!!

The ball was so much fun, in no small part because of the friends we were with! Tucks is one of the more irreverant krewes of Mardi Gras, so most of the people there were costumed instead of decked out in formal wear like most of the other balls. I'm sure you can see a huge difference between my attire here, and what I wore to the Eros ball last year. Both kinds are fun, but I think I like Tucks better!

Needless to say, I was hurtin' on Sunday. I definitely do not recover from drinking as well as I used to! Unfortunately, we had some family obligations the next day. Hubby's aunt and uncle were in town and we were expected over at the in-laws house for lunch. Not a terrible thing, Auntie is one hell of a cook and had homemade lasagna for us! But I was definitely not up to much socializing and used my foot and a percocet as an excuse for being a little more quiet that I normally would be.

My big brother came over that night to watch the NFC game with us (Geaux Saints!) and that was one hell of an exciting game. We were watching it on tape delay, which is usually great because you can fast forward through the commercials. It didn't work out so well for us this time, though, because we were about five minutes behind when the game actually ended. From where we were watching, the game was still tied and about to go into overtime, but our neighborhood exploded in fireworks, so the surprise was kind of blown for us. Maybe that's not such a bad thing, though, since we were all about to collectively have a heart attack!

After such a fun weekend, I was in a pretty great mood on Monday. The town was alive because fo the Saints and it was just a fun day to be out and about. Everyone in town was friends and we were all reliving the game again and again. But, like always, when things are going too well, a shoe was about to drop. When I picked Bean up at school that afternoon, she was coughing and definitely didn't feel very well. She went downhill rapidly and by that evening was running a pretty good fever as well. I let her sleep with me so I could keep a better eye on her. Not terribly condusive for a good night sleep, but I always sleep with her when she's sick.

Tuesday, she didn't even leave my room, I just brought her whatever she needed. We rested and cuddled most of the day. That night, her fever shot up even higher and she coughed a bunch. I kept treating her with Tylenol and an expectorant that we had from the pediatrician, and she responded a bit, but it was a rough night again. Wednesday, she seemed a lot better, the fever never went terribly high, so I really thought we had turned a corner. Unfortunately, that night was the worst of all and she was coughing so hard that she would cause herself to vomit. We definitely didn't sleep much that night and I had a lot of sheets that needed to be washed yesterday! Finally, I decided that I needed to take her into the doctor, she just wasn't responding the way she should be. Turns out, the cold she started out with had developed into a double ear infection and a mild case of pneumonia. Is it just me or does it seem weird describing any case of pneumonia that involves your child as "mild"?

So anyhow, now I have to give her amoxycillin twice a day, which is about as much fun as giving a cat a bath. I actually have to put the kid in time-out until she finally caves and takes it for me! Then, around four this morning, she needed some Mucinex really bad and I had to carry her downstairs and put her in the time-out chair before she would actually take the stuff! I am so tired today. But fortunately, she slept in this morning and I didn't get out of bed until almost 9:00. I think she must be doing better today, she's slept most of the morning, which I hope means she's breathing easier and finally getting the rest she needs to get better! Fingers crossed!

So, the summation of this very long story is, this week has basically sucked so far!

But did I mention that the Saints are in the SUPERBOWL! I swear, I keep thinking about that, and it keeps making me smile. So on that note, I want you to follow this link over to my favorite indie dyer's blog and check out the contest that she's running for the SUPERBOWL (yes, you do have to put it in all caps, all the time)! All the money's raised go to Charity: Water and will help benefit those suffering in Haiti by providing them with clean drinking water, something that is in desperately short supply. Brittany and her husband are offering up some really great prizes to keep the SUPERBOWL even more interesting! Oh, and did I mention, that if you win and you're not a knitter, I would be more than happy to lay claim to your prize....just puttin' it out there....

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sock Wars, Swaps, Iron Knitter and Broken Bones

It's been a busy past week or so around Chez Sarah! There has been lots of knitting involved though, so I've been having a lot of fun.

First off, I decided to join not one but two knitting competitions this month. They are both through, but not everyone is doing both. Sock Wars started first, on January 15. Basically, you get the name of your target and have to "assassinate" that person by sending them a pair of socks before the person you got your dossier assassinates you. So, it's not just about speed, you have to hope that either your assassin is a slow knitter, or that someone gets them first! Well, I got my part done quickly enough. I did a pair of socks from a pattern called Jeckyll & Hyde, which apparently was the SLOWEST pattern in creation. Even though I got them done over MLK weekend, they took FOREVER. I do think that I was the first person to finish a pair, most other people picked another pattern that was significantly faster. It was beautiful, though, I should know, I got off'ed by a pair!

In spite of my best efforts and mailing out my targets socks on Tuesday morning, by Wednesday morning, I was out. My assassin knit me some lovely purple socks that she had dyed herself with Wilton's icing dye. She also included a ball of yarn and a story about the colorway she had created. She called it Purple Death, after a rare type of coral that is very beautiful and also after the 1918 outbreak of Spanish Influenza that caused it's victims to bleed from the eyes just prior to death. Mshmom is a little twisted like that!

So, here are the socks that I made for Sarahbee, and the stitch markers that I included in her package:

And here are the purple death socks that I got:

In addition to Sock Wars, I'm also participating a Mardi Gras swap. I don't have a picture of the package that I sent to my partner, rms, but I did photograph the handmade item I included. A pair of handwarmers:
I also included the Mardi Gras themed stitch markers that I made.
And here's the wonderful package I got:

She included a beautiful scarf that she made using the Tunisian crochet method. It is super soft and I'm hoping that it's just a little cold during Mardi Gras so I can show it off! She also included three skeins of purple, green and gold yarn from Classic Elite and a bag of gold cocoons. I was a little daunted by the cocoons, since I don't spin, but she told me she likes to use them as beads for stringing or for embellishing. I like that idea because as much as spinning fascinates me, the last thing I need right now is a new hobby! So, at least some of these will become a super cool necklace and then I'll figure out what to do with the rest later. Oh and as a happy little side note, she let me know last night that she had forgotten to put the scarf pin she got for me in the package, so I'm going to get another present next week! You know how I love me some presents! (speaking of which, tick tock, folks, my birthday is coming....)
I got her package the day after I got my death socks, so it helped cheer me up from being knocked out of one competition so early!
Thursday night, Iron Knitter (Rav Link) kicked off. This one is predominately about speed! But, prior to receiving our patterns, we have to solve a series of clues. Our Supreme Commander allowed us to form teams in order to solve the questions (and also to reduce her email load, I suspect!) and that's been a lot of fun. I'm on team Ninja Needles. It's created a great sense of camaraderie, even as we try and win the contest for ourselves as individuals. I definitely find myself cheering for my teammates as we go on.

The questions were released on Thursday night at 7:00 and by 7:36 my team was in possession of the pattern. This is where teamwork ended! I cast on and had just a little bit done before Bean had to go to bed. As I was carrying her to her room, I slipped and fell, landing really hard on my foot. Oh My God, it hurt so bad and I was convinced that I had broken it, or at least sprained it pretty bad. I didn't want to go to the hospital, though, because I was determined to start knitting and even though you can knit while your waiting at a hospital, the constant interruptions are not exactly condusive for SPEED! So, I grabbed and ice pack, propped up my leg and got to knitting. I did end up popping a percocet left over from when Bean was born (you can see how often I take painkillers). By 2:00am I had finished my first sock, and although my competitive spirit was telling me to keep going, my eyes and the percocet were telling me it was time to turn out my light and go to bed! So I did. It was really hard going to sleep though, I kept worrying that taking time out was going to cost me the first position (I really wanted to win at least one round), plus my foot really hurt! Anyhow, I finally got to sleep and dreamed of knitting the whole time!
The next morning, Bean woke me up around 7:00 and I immediately cast on for the second sock. Bean was happy since I let her keep watching cartoons long after I normally turn off the TV. My only breaks from this point on were for food or diapers. Oh and anothe percocet. Two painkillers in a day? Yeah, I was hurting pretty bad! By 1:00, I was weaving in the ends on my second sock and posted a picture on the Iron Knitters group on Ravelry. I was the first person to finish by a couple of hours! Woot!
Here are the socks:

There have been a couple of people on the boards who have basically been commenting that I must've stayed up all night to finish, but I didn't actually. I didn't sleep much, that's true, but I definitely did sleep!
That afternoon, I decided that it was finally time to go get my foot checked out, so when Hubby got home from work, I left to go to the hospital. Fortunately, there was no wait at the ER and I got in right away. They took x-rays and determined that I had a spiral fracture in the second bone of my big toe on my left foot. Now, that's a pretty thick bone and also fairly short, so breaking it like that is quite a feat! (Heh, feet!) Anyhow, I now have to wear a cast shoe for the next six to eight weeks. Which means I will not be wearing fun shoes when I go to the Tucks ball!

Check back here later and I'll have a picture posted of my costume for the ball. I spent most of the day yesterday working on it!

Friday, January 8, 2010

First Attempts at Making Stitch Markers

What do you think?

These are for Mardi Gras (obviously)
And these, I just loved the blue. (I have no idea why blogger decided to format this one like this, the picture is supposed to be horizontal)

I used really small split rings (basically little keyrings) as the ring at the top. I still need some practice working with the wire, but I'm really liking the results so far.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What does one do with an entire bag of Noro?

Well, of course, one must use all of it! I know! I know! I could use what I needed for a project and leave the rest of the bag for a later date, but that just felt wrong somehow. I began my Noro journey with an entrelac scarf for myself. I LOVE it! I was worried while I was working on it, because, let's face it, even silk garden (did I mention that I was using silk garden?) doesn't feel that great while you're working with it. But, oh my goodness, does it ever block up nice!

So, the scarf took four balls. Do the math, I have six left. This is a respectable number to leave in the stash, but I wasn't ready to stop playing with it, so a slip-stich scarf (again, for me) was next. Okay, I'm feeling a little guilty now, I haven't worn it yet, maybe it will go in the "gift box" for someone else. I don't know, I'll figure that out later.
Shortly after I got this done, (it took two balls, bringing me down to four) I realized that I was having a Christmas party the following night, and it would probably be a good idea to have something for my Dirty Santa Swap. (No, the gifts weren't risque, the "dirty" came from the fact that we could steal other people's stuff) So, I whipped up a Lotus Leaf scarf. Unfortunately, I didn't photograph it before the party, but here's a picture of one of the subsequent ones that got made. Three more, for a total of four, which killed off the rest of the bag.
And a family photo of what can be made with a bag of Noro Silk Garden (minus the scarf that was gifted prior to photographing).

I'm really digging the Lotus Leaf scarf pattern. It works up super quick and everyone has seemed to like them (I've given two away so far, but some of my other friends have put in requests). My friend, Kate (of Bean-sitting fame), requested that I make one to donate to her Mardi Gras marching club's silent auction, but instead of wanting one of the Noro ones, she wanted something pink, sparkly and fabulous, so this one, made out of Karabella Pima Gold, was born. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to make another one for her when she sees it.
Also, my friend who got the first scarf during my Christmas party called yesterday (while I happened to be in a yarn store, go figure) and asked if I would be willing to make one for her child's physical therapist as a belated Christmas present. So, I picked up some really pretty red Cascade 220 and made this one for her. Even made myself $20! I wasn't going to charge her for it, but since she was giving it as a gift, she wanted to buy it.
What else have I been doing? Well, I finished this really great pair of socks for my friend, Kelly's, birthday present (only two months after the actual birthday!). They are made with yarn from the Knit Witch in the Brewtopia colorway, which is kinda perfect since I call her "Beer Kelly". (I have two Kelly's in my near group of friends and when referring to them to Hubby, I have to clarify which one I'm talking about. She likes beer. The other one is short, so she's "Little Kelly". I'm not terribly creative.)
Also, I'm participating in Sock Wars V later this month, so I decided to test myself to see how quickly I could whip up a pair of socks that actually had a pretty complicated lace pattern to them. The good news is that I knocked out these bad boys in one weekend, the bad news is I really hurt my left hand. It was pretty sore after I finished up, most likely because I was holding the yarn differently to accomodate a new purling technique, called Norwegian Purl. I like it a lot because you don't have to shift the yarn to the front of the piece to accomplish a purl stitch, saving precious seconds when knitting for speed. These are called Flying V socks. I like that pattern a lot and wish I'd done them with a prettier color. I was just using the brown because they were practice socks and I just didn't care.
Sock Wars is a contest with about 200 knitters from all over the world. At the kick-off, you get a dossier with your "target". The point is to assisinate them by sending them a pair of socks from a specific pattern that will be released all at the same time before the person that had your dossier can assisinate you. During Sock Wars there is a side contest called Iron Knitter that I will also be participating in. During this, contestants will be knitting six pairs of socks. In each heat, a certain number of knitters who finish the pattern first will move on to the next heat. The knitter who finishes the sixth sock first, wins. So,wish me luck in the contests! I'm out to win a bunch of sock yarn from the Cocoa Beach Yarn Company.

Monday, January 4, 2010

It's a New Year, now what?

So, I've obviously neglected this blog for a while and although I would love to catch you all up on everything that has been going on, one wants to read a post that long and it would kill me if you didn't think it was as interesting as I do!

Let's talk about this whole New Year thing. I know the standard practice is to come up with a list of resolutions that, let's face it, will be abandoned within the first month. I'm not going to do that this year. Instead, I will focus on one word, DISCIPLINE. I need more of it, from my eating, to my exercising, to my (gasp) yarn compulsion. Maybe if I just try to practice better habits, rather than setting milestones for myself and being disappointed in myself when I fail, I'll end up getting the things that we all know I truly want.

This year has started off well so far. My best friend and her fiance came to visit on New Years' eve and stayed until the second, as did my older brother. We had a great New Years' eve. We spent it at home, drinking, laughing and roasting marshmallows while the world exploded (fireworks) around us. My neighbors spend a FORTUNE on fireworks. We sometimes join them, but refrained this year. We did, however, decided to blow up a bunch of helium balloons, attach them to glowsticks and release them into the air. I know, I know, it sounds like there was something a little more "recreational" going on, but I promise, we were only drinking... We were even all in bed prior to midnight. I know, we're lame.

The next day we pretty much lounged around all day, watching football, and that night went to the Sugar Bowl to watch the Gators whoop up on the Bearcats. So much fun! We had two Bearcats fans sitting in front of us when the game started, but when they heard how loud Jen and I can scream, they moved over a little ways and by the end of the second quarter, had left entirely. Awww, sucks when your team can't handle the SEC... (sorry to any Cincy fans that might be reading this, okay, maybe not....)

Saturday, everyone left and we began the cleanup from the holidays. Sunday, we lounged and watched football (see a trend in my house). The Saints have had a really disappointing finish to the regular season, let's hope they get their sh*t together for the playoffs. I truly never thought I'd see the day when the Aint's were the top seed in the NFC!

Today, Bean returned to school. She has been eager to return and see all of her friends and teachers and I, quite frankly, needed a bit of a break. I love that I'm the center of her world, but after a while, a little alone-time is a very good thing. I took the opportunity to take the trimmings off the tree and haul it down to the curb. I'm pretty proud of that, it was a big tree and I did it all by myself! So, now Christmas has returned to it's plastic boxes to await release again next year, I just have to bring said boxes down to the warehouse this week and it will be business-as-usual around here once again.

I'm really looking forward to this year, we're hoping to expand our family during the course of it (fingers-crossed). We've also got some really great travel plans brewing, including a trip this summer to Sweden (yes, I've purchased Rosetta stone). I hope you and yours are happy and healthy and that the New Year brings you all that you need and want.