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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Technology is the pits when it doesn't work . . .

While Husker was ill, my PC quit on me one day.  It had all my pix, patterns, etc. stored there, and it crashed (?) or something.  I switched to Husker's PC because it was not a good time to worry over my PC.  Now I am trying to get things back to normal as far as technology is concerned, and wouldn't you know ...

Last Friday, Husker's PC began to misbehave, so I switched to the MacPro.  It froze up!  Nothing I did would make it respond.  It only stared back with the screen where it had stopped.  I opened the iPad, and it would not work.  I pulled out the Nook and the same thing.  Hmmm ...

Called the cable guys.  Internet service/wifi was out in our neighborhood.  They later responded with a robo-call to say that the internet was back up.  Husker's PC was working again, but no MacPro, iPad, or Nook.  Called the cable guys.  They walked me through how to re-boot the wifi.  iPad and Nook now working.  Still no MacPro response.  I think I blew a brain fuse and it was nobody's fault but my own. 

MacPros do not operate like an iPad.  You cannot swipe or press the screen to operate!  My brain had frozen into the iPad mode and it took me two days -- yes, two days -- to get me to realize what a stupid thing I was doing.  MacPro is now operating from the keyboard like it was supposed to do all along. 

And some good news:  my old PC is now up and running because it really did have a fuse thingy that needed to be replaced.

Now about my knitting ... somewhere around here is a pair of socks waiting to be finished. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Three Feasts

Thanksgiving was the usual eat-too-much, but oh-so-good, day.  Lots of family (16 of us) were around for over 7 hours (at least that is when I left), and good visits with everyone.  It was the first time that all three of Husker's wives were present under the same roof.  They are both such talented ladies!  During non-eating time, I worked on the Blue Yonder socks -- one down and one almost done.  (I have had hints from two people that they would like to have them.  In fact, one person reminded me that we wear the same shoe size.)

If Thanksgiving was not enough food, we followed up with more family (18), all down at Grace Friday night for another food extravaganza.  Grace overlooks the route for the Parade of Lights that occurs each year down Main Street, which meant that the valet parking was diverted to a another location a block or two away.  I dropped off my car and hoofed it to Main.
Life At Best, Eli Young Band
That was not the end of the evening, only the beginning.  We then carpooled to Billy Bob's Texas to see a concert by the Eli Young Band.  What a night! 

Did I tell you how fat I am getting?  Obviously, I was not starting a diet yet because there was one more feast Saturday night before out-of-towners head home that I must tell you about.  Maybe I should have prepped by going for a long walk -- like 5-6 miles.  This time, 20 of us were present for one final sit-down dinner of home style pasta, salad, garlic-cheese bread, gelato, and wine and wine and wine ... lots of laughter and memories were made.

By the way, the Little Husker sweater and cap are finished, but I have started the booties four times!  I am making the Lovebug Booties designed by Carrie Bostick Hoge, but seem to get my fingers in a knot or something.  I have done something stupid three times and have started over.  Can fourth time be charmed? 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gone for only two days

I worked for the last couple of days, and did not check the blog world, and so much has happened!  I saw so many new things -- patterns, yarns, books -- that were posted in that short time that it leaves me drooling.  It makes me want to order them all and spend all of my time just knitting.  Forget eating and sleeping. 

Unfortunately, I have a sort of bucket list for the day.  I am going to see Lincoln, get my lazy bod to the Y, and get a few things done around the house before I relax in my chair with a half-finished baby cap to go with the Little Husker pullover, followed by booties.  I want to be able to take these with me on Thanksgiving when I am at the Little Husker's parents' home.  Little Husker is due December 23rd - he needs something red -- and Papa and Grandpapa are Huskers -- again red.

It is now several hours later, and let me tell ya -- if you do nothing else -- go see Lincoln.  Spielberg has done it again, and maybe this is better than anything else he has directed.  Daniel Day-Lewis is incredible.  It is a very talky debate-driven story, but absolutely mesmerizing.  Sally Field is perfect, but does not have as much screen time, yet is super while she is there.   Just go. 

Still lazy.  Did not go to the Y. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Brrrr ....

Why is it that the first really cold morning always feels so much colder than it does later in the season?  This morning was in the mid-thirties, not quite freezing, but close enough to get your attention.  The wind blew in a definitely cold front last night.  It was preceded by a light shower and stirred up a lot of leafy activity, mostly in the front of my entry court gate where it likes to collect.  As I opened the gate, I saw that the Optimists' Club had set out the flag for Veterans Day.

Last night, as the cold moved in, I sat before the TV finishing the next Baby Boy sweater.  It is for Husker's first grandson whom he will never get to know.  So I made Baby Boy a sweater to make his Grandpapa happy.  Go Huskers!  Next up -- cap and booties to match.  It is made from Berroco Comfort DK in colorways True Red (2751), white (2700), and black (2734).  I trust you can see the Nebraska logo just fine!  Pattern?  Ask me.  It is free. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Group Grief Thingy

 Went to my first group grief thingy Tuesday.  Three social workers and three grievers.  Hmmm ...

At any rate ... The other lady had been married to her husband for 63 years.  He died last February, and she was just now getting to this group.  She has yet to part with anything that was his.  What is wrong with me?!  The Salvation Army is coming to take Allen's clothes and Airdyne away.  The man on the other side of me was married 40+ years and still finds himself talking to her. Yeah, I talk to Allen occasionally, and in fact, I start to say something, then catch myself.  I was wishing that I had brought my own box of tissues.  The hospice tissues were crappy quality.  Too rough.  My nose began to bleed.  Maybe I am not so good at this widow thing.  I should have taken my knitting with me. 

I have two things on the needles despite my promise to finish one item before beginning another one.  Okay -- I am knitting Husker's expected grandson a Husker sweater, but you still have to have socks to carry around with you.  I am knitting a pair of Honey Badger socks.  Incredibly easy pattern.  I can take them with me to group grieving next Tuesday.  My Husker would have loved the little red sweater that I designed for his grandson. 

Next week we will talk about the stages of grief.  I sure wish we had talked about it this time.  I want to know why I still break into tears and screaming after a month.  When does this stop.  I talked to Allen's Uncle Grant (a hotty at 90 years and has a girl friend), and he told me that he still thinks about his wife after all these years.  I do not want to feel this crappy forever.  Allen was a wonderful companion, but the pain is unbearable.  Why can't I get over this? 

Our group assignment for next week is to write down our feelings and anything we want to say about our grieving process.  Does this account on my blog count?  What do I say? Does anger management come into the therapy sessions?  Yes, anger. 

The other lady in the group actually lives in my neighborhood.  I thought about calling her up to see if she would like to go to a movie or something.  I got cold feet, but did mention it to a friend who encouraged me to proceed.  I did.  She is interested!  Maybe this will be good for both of us.  I also promised a review of the movie for a friend's community paper in California.  Good excuse to go.

I have looked at the Humane Society web site for our area.  Should I adopt?  I don't have a back yard.  I don't want to walk a dog several times a day.  Forget about it ...Should I start dating eventually?  No one would be as comfortable as Allen.  Forget that, too. 

Allen only had 3 problems:  He was a libertarian/republican, he smoked, he would not exercise, he was a packrat.  Okay, so he had 4 problems.  Otherwise, he was considerate, thoughtful, supportive, and always put me first.  He also did the cooking. 

I am drinking too much wine. 

Maybe I will use this in my report to the group next week.  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Knitting as Therapy and Meditation

When my Allen was diagnosed and subsequently became sicker, knitting became my therapy -- my way to combat the stress.

When I told the ladies at my LYS about his illness, I discovered that the shop owner had lost her first husband to the Big C, too, when she was a young mother.  She also dealt with it through her knitting.

So I plunged into socks and attacked my skills to make them meet my standards and expectations.  Allen admired and encouraged me along the way.  The rhythm of the clicking needles meditated me into a calmer state.  The beauty of the outcome embraced my creativity.  The colors inspired me.

Family was attentive, but nothing will ever be the same again.  He left behind 5 wonderful children, show here with his daughters.  He was proud of all of them.  And he always let them know it. 

Now that he is gone, knitting is a fragile defense against loneliness and depression.  Life must be rebuilt.  So what should life be now?  How should I structure my days?  It cannot be only church, work, knitting, gym, and the TV.  Where will love and companionship be?

I have a couple more trips to make.  I will deliver his ashes to Monterrey Bay, and visit friends and family on the west coast (May 2013?), and maybe retrace part of our last trip (September 2011) to the west coast together.  Our bucket list also included a fall drive to Vermont.  It would not be fun to go alone.  Those things are to be enjoyed with someone.  But who?

Dear friends here and yon may become only memories.  

I must also find a grief group.  I will take my knitting.  Knitting will help heavy words flow lightly. 

I will love him forever. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Little Husker

With a little Husker arriving in December, I decided to get my act in gear.  No little boy blue in sight!  We are making our baby boy a red pullover.  Can you see where this is going?  Grandpa Husker would have been proud. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Getting back to life as we know it

It has been three weeks and a day since my life changed forever.  Time to get on with the rest of it.

I have turned my hands back to my knitting and completed my friend, Carolyn's, socks.  Usually, socks are a 2-3 week project, but the time was disrupted by a trip to Omaha for a second celebration of life.  I finished the socks this morning with my second cup of coffee. The yarn is Knit Picks' colorway, Lake Front, and the pattern is Catherine by Kate Blackburn.  I learned a couple of tricks from this pattern.   

Now,  I want to make something for our latest family addition, a boy.  I attended his baby shower last Saturday and can definitely say that he does not need caps!  I deliberately held off on the knitting just so I would know where the gaps are.  He does not have any cardigans or pullovers, and nothing coordinated.  He is due on December 23rd.  Red!  Huskers!  Oooooh . . . .

Monday, October 8, 2012

In Memorium

Allen Edwin Jones
aka "Husker"
4/25/1938 - 10/8/2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Week (almost) with George

Husker's brother, George, spent 4 days, 5 nights with us, arriving Tuesday evening of last week, and leaving Sunday morning.  Husker really does love his brother, and the feeling is mutual.  They are remarkably close.  George made himself very useful during his visit, assisting with his sick bro, and doing small things around the house for me.  Such as change out the AC filter and fix a sticking gate.  Gotta love that.

George came from Omaha on his Harley.  Those things are bigger than you think and there was no space for it in the garage along with our two cars; so, we parked it in the atrium which is a covered and gated entry courtyard at the front of our house.  It made a perfect Harley garage.  I stupidly did not get a shot of the Harley in the space, but hopefully, you can use your imagination ... the space is 6'6" x 10'.  The Harley barely squeezed in! 

My knitting has been in the doldrums with lots of yarn and ideas to work on.  So many new yarns await!  I need to make baby caps for the local children's hospital, socks, Christmas gifts, etc.  But now I have gotten started with a new pair of socks, Catherine, a Gansey pattern of diamonds, by Kate Blackburn.  The yarn is Knit Picks' colorway, Lake Front.   My foot is narrow (AAA), but this pattern required too many stitches cast on, and reducing the CO was going to be a big charting adjustment.   Not in the mood to do that.  So someone is going to get these for Christmas.  Whom do I know that has a medium width foot?

Meanwhile, it rained for 4 days while George was here.  It started out with a drizzle and progressed to a steady gentle shower that came down more than it did not during the 4 days.  Three inches' worth at our house.  We are happy to have it, and grateful that it did not become a flood.  Sections of west Texas flooded such as Midland and Odessa, but you have to see that area to understand why it would flood.  It gets so little rain there that when it comes, there are no gullies and creeks big enough to handle it.  It is Flat with a capital "F".  Even the desert country of the Big Bend experienced some flooding, but they have mountains, and routes for the rains to follow to the Rio Grande.  Meanwhile, the water pours over mesas, into gullies, washes out roads, etc.  They won't see another drop for months.  My niece was in San Angelo, midway between north Texas and the Big Bend, and she said they had a "ton" of rain. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Everything you ever need to know about Ganseys

For those of you who like Ganseys, whether for sweaters or socks or whatever, you should look at, a website of Gordon and Margaret Reid in Edinburgh, Scotland.  They are both lovers of the knitting tradition of the British Isles.  I learned a lot about the background.  Did you know that each village had its own pattern so that when an unfortunate fisherman washed up on the shore, the locals could identify his origin and notify his family?  They are knit in a 5-ply (sport weight) yarn using size #1 or #2 dpns/circulars to get a warm, almost watertight garment.  Gordon has been knitting 25 years (his new bride taught him how), and Gordon and Margaret have found many of the old original designs.  The website also includes basic instructions for how to authentically assemble a Gansey (aka Guernsey). 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Neck Warmers and Red Socks

I went to my LYS on Tuesday to pick up a US #2 16-inch cable needle for the mini-cowl/neck warmer that I am making -- again.  I made the first one just to see what it would look like, and to use up the left over sock yarn from my sister-in-law's socks.  Then I mailed her socks and the neck warmer to her on Monday.

But I really liked the little neck warmer.  I hated to let it go.  So I immediately dug through my left-overs and found a nice chunk of Knit Picks' Frosting colorway.  Hmmm .... might be enough.  I am now about 4 inches into it, and holding my breath that I can get at least 3 more inches on it before I run out of yarn.

One thing that bothered me while making the neck warmer (other than the boring repetition of the 2x2s) was the bamboo dpns that I was using.  So I dug through my assortment of needles, but no #2 cables.  Which brings me back to where this post started:  off to the store... where they were having an end-of-season sale.  Oh my!  I need more yarn like I need more calories.  I managed to get out of the store with my wallet somewhat intact -- only bought yarn for one pair of socks.  Red.  Not striped, not varigated, just red.  Christmas socks.  That means that I am only 12 pairs of socks behind including the 6 skeins that I have on order.  

Then I picked up a jar of Nutella to help me wade through all these socks that I need to get made. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's not a sock -- What it is, is a . . .

I am pretty good about doing only one project at a time.  In the past, I tried working on about 2 or 3 at once, and that turned out to be a big mistake.  Everything I do has some special quirk, and if I am working on too many things, I forget what quirk was done where.  I decided to forego any further multiple WIPs (works in progress).

My last two WIPs were related, however.  I made Cindy's socks, and found that -- like me -- she has a slender foot and thus does not use near all of the sock yarn of choice.  I eyed that fist-sized cake remaining on my Yarn Buddy, and knew that I could not "not" dive right back into it.  In addition, when I bought the Yarn Buddy, it arrived with a couple of mini skeins, one of which was a beautiful cranberry colorway that looked so well with the Pearlescent colorway from Knit Picks.  Neither was enough for anything too big, but definitely enough for something about the same size as a small sock.  So I decided to make a mini-cowl since Cindy lives in cold country.  I ended up with a very small amount of both yarns left. 

The mini-cowl does not require a pattern.  CO 144 sts of sock yarn and knit in K2 P2 ribbing using US #2 dpn until the cowl is 6-8 inches in length, or length desired.  Bind off very loosely.  This one is 7 inches long, but can obviously be a little shorter or longer as desired.  Wear it up to cover bottoms of ears and chin, or fold over to keep only the neck area covered.  Stripe it with various left over yarns, or use a self-striping yarn or whatever suits your taste!  See the next three photos to see it worn three ways. 

 Folded, or
 Casual, or
Like the wind is howling! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pearlescent Grey

This subtle shading of pale greys in Stroll Tonal is so beautiful that I am getting more of it!  

It isn't a sock ...

... But the yarns are Knit Picks' Stroll Tonal, Pearlescent, and a little lagniappe from Sun Valley Fibers in a pretty raspberry color. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Cindy's socks

We started the day with Husker's family before his bro and sis-in-law left for the airport.  So nice of them to fly here to see him once more.  On the evening before, Husker and his brother were able to enjoy the Husker's season opener winningly.  This afternoon, we had a visit from son and dau-in-law.  Nice day. 

Then I started on these Knit Picks Stroll Tonal Pearlescent socks this evening for sis-in-law Cindy.  Made it 4" down the leg before Husker needed to go to bed.  IPad did not pick up the pale shades of grey in the lamp light so well, but you can see it on the Knit Picks website.  It is such a beautiful colorway that I may order another one for me! 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Addicted to Yarn

I promised my sister-in-law, PhotoWit, a pair of socks last May.  The color she selected was a new Stroll tonal shade from Knit Picks, Pearlescent.  Unfortunately, it did not become available until August 25, 2012.  So we waited, and on the appointed day, I ordered it -- along with 4 other selections of sock yarn that I do not "need".  In addition, I have 3 hand-dyed yarns on order through Etsy.  Plus, there is another Knit Picks sock yarn sitting beside my chair calling to me.  Do I have a problem?  Only if I cannot knit!

Just finished another Hermione's Everyday Socks in Knit Picks' Stroll, colorway Queen Anne.  Gotta love it when a pair comes off the needles so easily. 

The heel is an unknown pattern that I found.  It is kinda like a linen stitch.  Anyone know its name?   

By the way, I am now knitting to keep my sanity.  Husker has withdrawn from chemo and is in hospice.  Mostly, he is in bed. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012


I have new socks to show, and other news, and my hard drive crashed.  Fortunately, there is the laptop, but it does not have the handy dandy little slot for my memory card.  Gotta figure out how I do this photo upload with this laptop.

Actually, the laptop is Husker's laptop, so I really do not know much about it.  With his current state of health, I am not asking for a tutorial.  By the way, we are finished with radiation and we start chemo on July 31st.  Going from a PC to a Mac Pro is a real brain teaser.

However, I can talk about my other news - at least news to other knitters.  I have finally said to self, "You have got to take time to do this."  So I did.  I have spent this afternoon practicing my Continental skills.  I have shied away from Continental technique because I simply could not get used to controlling the tension with my left hand.  I finished my latest project this morning, and looked at the remaining sock yarn, and said "It is time."  I am happy to say that I finally felt confident enough by evening to start a baby cap.  So far so good.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dina's Red Socks

Now if we could just cool off enough to wear them!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pink Frosting Socks

I once impulsively purchased a pair of pink loafers.  Sometimes impulsiveness seems to be my strong suit ...   Around here, loafers are not too useful except in winter, and how many pairs of pink winter slacks or other pink friendly winter clothes do I have?  Except for one pink wool blazer, I have nothing to wear with them.  Nada as in zilch.  If I wear black slacks, the shoes seem to glow conspicuously. 

I finally came up with the pairing solution that hit me when I saw Knit Picks' Stroll hand painted fingering yarn in colorway Frosting.  In addition to pink, the colors are off white and a light beige.  I also have a very nice pair of beige winter slacks.  Suddenly everything came together.  I can't wait for the cold weather to return. 

It was 107 degrees a couple of days ago, and was 101 today.  Of course, I can't wait for winter!  Meanwhile, Husker has completed radiation, and tomorrow we see the oncologist to discuss the chemo. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

I am running quite a bit late with this post, but there were computer problems.  'Nuff said.  Now we are right again with the world. 

Husker and I had the delightful experience of spending Memorial Day at the home of his older son/wife, along with his younger son/wife, and his two daughters.  Trust me when I say that we ate well. 

Mary's New Blue Feet

I delivered to friend, Mary, her completed blue socks, at church this morning.  This is the first time I have made a pair for someone other than myself, and I feel a great sense of relief that I really have learned what I think I have learned about knitting socks.  She is happy with them, and they fit very well.  Top it all off, it was variegated yarn and I managed to align the light and dark shades of blue.  Whew!  I had to frog the second sock after a few inches and start again in order to get the alignment of colors just right.  The pattern is my own Beginner's Lace Socks which Mary selected from among some samples that I showed her. 

And here is our model herself, wearing her new socks for the camera.     

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sisters Plus

Husker is blessed with wonderful children.  They are bright, well-balanced, and  always a delight to be around.  I love them all.  Older daughter, Andra, flew down from Omaha to spend the Memorial Day weekend in North Texas.  She came to dinner at our house, along with younger daughter, Jennie, who lives in Texas, too.  For dinner, we had Giada's Lemon Spaghetti with tlapia.  Delish! 

We also had a dinner at big bro Adam's house, but that is another post. 

Meanwhile, back to the needles -- I have been dragging my feet on finishing Mary's socks.  I like to have fittings on socks, and that means that I must take my work to church with me and have Mary try on the product at its then stage.  Today, I was down to the toes, and the fit was perfect.  So tonight, I finished the first sock and will be able to finish the other sock without further adieu.  I think Mary likes what she sees so far; I definitely do. 

I have GOT to make a light box!

Friday, May 25, 2012

New Project - Chemo Caps

Our trip to Omaha had two other reasons.  (1) Husker has lung cancer and will be starting radiation and chemotherapy in the next week.  (2) We usually go to Omaha for the Memorial Day weekend so that he can assist his mother to put out flowers in the cemetery (23 relatives), but this year was the first time he was going to decorate his mother's as well.  We moved it up a week to celebrate Delphine's graduation with his oncologist's blessing. 

I expect that I will make Husker a couple of chemo caps, and probably make a few for other patients in his clinic.  About the clinic, it is a fully self-contained facility so that we can go to his doctors' offices as well as receive his treatments and tests at the same location.  We like that.

Meanwhile, we partied the weekend away, and we ate.  The three full days in Omaha included swordfish, salmon, beef tenderloin, green chili breakfast burritos, Harkert's BBQ (courtesy of owner/brother George), and lots of sides, trimmings, and good wines.  Please share our good times in the springtime in Omaha.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Knits go to Omaha

I have three pairs of socks on needles.  They include the blue pair that I previously mentioned, plus a red pair for my daughter-in-law, and finally, this pair for little old me knitted up in Knit Picks' colorway, Frosting. 

You didn't think I would make a trip to Omaha without something going on did you?

In fact, my sister-in-law was so taken with the socks that I volunteered to make her a pair.  So, one pair of colorway Pearlescent from Knit Picks is coming up. 

Omaha and Delphine's Party

Husker and I went to Omaha last Saturday for his youngest granddaughter's graduation party hosted by her mom, Andra, and partner, Linda.  The whole afternoon and evening were great, and the memories are wonderful.   The graduate: 

  Her mom and partner:  Andra (lavender) and Linda (black) out on the deck where two of many tables were set up.

Andra's mother, Eddith, and Husker's first wife.  Talented artist - note her paintings in the background.

Husker and Eddith's two sons, Adam and Allen.

More to come . . .