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Time To Change

3 Feb

First Monday of the month so it’s time to change out the office wall hanging.

february wall hanging 1

Blurry iPhone picture but from far away it doesn’t look that bad.  🙂  The label on the back says March 2004.  Really?  10 years ago? Sheesh…  It’s machine appliqued and machine quilted on my domestic sewing machine. I didn’t have a long arm back then! Still a good office wall hanging I think.

Posts will be few and far between this week.  I have something going on every day and night.  Sigh… not much sewing or knitting or blogging.  Tonight we are splitting the Scholastic Bowl matches.  I’m going to one 40 minutes away to watch Gianna and Dan is going to a home meet at DJ’s school.  Immediately following Gianna’s match we are racing home to hope to get a pitching lesson in.  She hasn’t had a lesson in a couple of weeks due to her schedule and the cold weather. I hope we can get one in tonight before the coach goes back to work at her “real” job  – a nurse!

In My Other Life

3 Dec

Family and work really take a front seat for the next few weeks!

Dan’s working twice as much to implement a new project on Monday.  That means that means he works all day and then comes home and works all night from home!  I’m a single parent during this time. Luckily, the kids’ activities aren’t that jam-packed.  Just kind of jam-packed!

For example, yesterday I worked til 4pm. DJ had a Scholastic Bowl match in a neighboring town.  Gianna had a pitching lesson.  I didn’t go to DJ’s match because it had already started by the time I got off work and had to drive a half hour to get there.  Next week I should be able to go… I think.  They won all three rounds.  The JV team is undefeated.  They are good….  Dan wasn’t sure if he would be able to catch Gianna, so I went to the lesson with her.  Tonight, Gianna has her school band concert.  Wednesday… well, that’s my marathon day – 9am to 9pm.  You get the idea.

At work, we are a week before finals.  That means all my grading has to be done. I gave quite a few last minute projects, extending due dates.  So I’ve got a “to do” list of grading that’s a mile long.  I’m moving at work.  We built a new building and my two labs and my office need to be moved between the end of finals and December 23rd.  I have a week in January that can be used also.  So every day, I come in an hour early to pack up a little bit and clean and even move some non-essential stuff.

I am also a member of a computer group.  We don’t meet that much. We just plan conferences and give away money.  🙂  All the money we make from the conferences is given away as grants to local schools and libraries to update their computer hardware and software.   Here is a list of winners. 

I think that’s really cool and I’m glad to be a part of that organization!

Now you see why my knitting production has increased and my quilting has plateaued.  I’m never home!  You have to be home, at the sewing machine, to quilt. But I can pack my knitting and take it everywhere with me.  A row here and there really adds up quickly.

So Proud; So Sad

8 Nov

Soapbox Time

We received the results of Gianna’s ISAT tests yesterday in Parent/Teacher Conferences.  They were stellar!  So proud of her.  She only missed ONE question on the reading portion, scoring highest in her class (according to her Language Arts/English teacher).  She did very well in math – only missing 4 of the 65 questions.  She scored what would equate to a 94%.   However, here are her classmates results:

School Average:  56%

State Average: 64%

So sad…  I’ve gotten on my soapbox numerous times in my blog and discussed how our school system is not teaching math.  They’ve gotten rid of textbooks and put iPads in their place.  iPads are great.  I love mine.  They do not replace textbooks – especially in math!  Last year, we disagreed with the school about how math was being taught and we purchased a textbook and began teaching our daughter at home.  That’s why her score was a 94%.  We have continued it through this year.  But what about the other 90+ students in her grade?  They missed out on an entire year of math.  They are going to miss out on this year also.  Oh, don’t get me wrong. They are still getting As and Bs on their report cards.  But look at that score.  So sad…

And, yes… my daughter will do fine.  We’ve taken matters into our own hands and she willingly sits in our living room for what is basically “home school lessons” a couple times a week.  What about the kids’ whose parents can’t (or won’t) take this time to teach their children at home?  What about the parents who expect the school system to teach their child math?  I was one of those with my older kids.  It never occurred to me otherwise.

I wrote a letter to a board member who is an acquaintance and asked her to look at the scores.  I asked if she would ask the administration to see if what they are doing with technology (iPads – no books) is working for every discipline.

I don’t think it is.

Some Misc. Musings

7 Nov

1) My 15yo son is competing in a national computer competition online called Cyber Aces.  It’s open to high school students, college students, and adults.  It involves watching videos and completing some labs online then taking tests.  He refuses to let his dad and I help him because that would be cheating (according to him!).  LOL  Where did he get those ethics?  But we do discuss the topics with him after he’s watched the videos.  He’s got a pretty good grasp on the subject which really surprises me.  The topics covered I also cover in my college networking classes.  What Cyber Aces is teaching in 3 weeks, we spend an entire semester covering!  Anyway, DJ takes the tests when his dad and I are at work so that there’s no temptation on our part to assist him.  He now has two of the three tests completed and is ranked 12th of all the Illinois high school students participating in the competition.  Not bad.  Almost all the students above him go to the Illinois Math and Science Academy – which is where he wants to attend.  This stuff is difficult and I think that anything that he picks up on it now is good.  If he’s exposed to it again in further high school or college classes, it will aid tremendously in his understanding.

CaptureHis other stats:  Overall he is 234 out of 785 in the state of Illinois; and 1125 of 3599 in the nation.  Those two stats include college students and adults also.

2)  My sister (who blogs here), just won a golf tournament in Florida!  That’s pretty cool!  She’s smart and athletic!  Can’t beat that combination.

3) I started a new sweater with the yarn I’m dyeing.  It’s a V-neck cardigan.  Or it might be if I continue. Here is the right front so far.


I’m on the fence because I was originally going to travel the pattern up the side of the V, but the pattern is too wide and will get lost in the sleeve.  That will look weird I think.  So I will just have to travel it upwards.  Will that look weird?  Yeah – maybe.  So what what about half a pattern on each side of the neckline.  Yeah – that would look good but do I really want to rip out 104 rows and begin again?  I don’t know.  I can’t envision the end product so I might stop and do some drawing with pencil and paper to see what I want to do.

Misc. Monday

28 Oct

There’s a lot of stuff going on this week for our family.

Sunday, DJ played in the Fall Music Concert at his high school.  It was VERY enjoyable.  After sitting through numerous band and chorus concerts in junior high, I was pleasantly surprised at how GOOD the band and chorus at his high school actually were!  I only got one crappy iPhone picture.

photo(1)He’s not that blurry in person. 🙂 But I had a bad angle and heaven forbid if I were to actually get up and move for a better shot!  The concert was only an hour long and that’s always nice – short and sweet.  The band played 4 songs including the National Anthem. When they first played the National Anthem at the first couple of football games… well, they sucked.  It’s a difficult song to play for the trumpets especially because of the range.  But they really nailed it on Sunday.

After the concert, Gianna and I went to get her haircut. Her hair is finally long enough to donate to Locks for Love and still have a little bit left.

photo(iPhone picture with much better lighting.)

Yep – there’s about 10 inches there.  She was kind of worried when her hair was still wet – would it look okay short?  I think it looks super!  I thought I might have enough to donate also, but I only have 6″.  Crap.  I don’t think I can keep going!  I’m too old for this long hair PITA.

I knitted too much yesterday.  I’m glad for work today so I didn’t over do it some more and have a repetitive stress injury.  I have about 3/4 of the back piece of the sweater done.  It’s boring stockinette stitch but she does put decreases in for the waist shaping and then increases back out for the shoulders.  So I have mini-goals to make which keeps it semi-interesting. I’m glad I chose a worsted weight yarn. The project will go quicker that way.

I couldn’t sleep last night and got up at 4am. I finished all the 4-patches necessary for my next Scrap Squad quilt. I started on cutting some of the other squares out. I need gold and green 2 1/2″ squares.  I have enough green cut, but I’ve ordered some more gold fabric and am waiting for it to come in.  I also cut a lot of 2 1/2″ x 6″ background fabric.  I need over 200 of those pieces.

Giving blood tonight (tired blood); pitching lessons on Tuesday; work Wednesday night; nothing so far on Thursday; open house for our new technology center building here at work on Friday!  Like I said – busy week!

Too Many Projects!

27 Oct

I’m bouncing around projects like a ping pong ball!  It’s great for my ADD but will anything actually get finished?

One thing that got finished this weekend was Mia’s scarf.

????????Same pattern as my aqua one – Summer Winds. Details on the yarn and whatnot are on my Ravelry Project page. I didn’t like the yarn while knitting – it felt like acrylic. But after washing and blocking it’s nice and soft.

I also got started on my Scrap Squad #6 quilt.  I made 90+ of these that will measure 2″ square when finished.

????????I need 124 so having 90-something done is a good start.

And I’m going to start a sweater TODAY!  I’ve been taking a class online at Craftsy by Amy Herzog on custom fit sweaters. Amy now has a web site where you input about 5000 measurements 🙂 and you MUST swatch with a new fangled method like shown below.


After all that, you pick out a pattern and pay $10 and the pattern is generated to fit you perfectly.  I’ve been taking the class and watching videos and seeing testimonials and knitted pieces by all kinds of knitters and I’m intrigued.  So I’m doing it!  I think all of the sweaters I’ve knitted in the past are too big because I knit them according to my bust measurement instead of my upper bust or shoulders.  I’ve done everything according to her specs – including picking a simple pattern WITH SEAMS for my first project to test her method.  Yes, you read that right – SEAMS.  No knitting in the round for this one.  But I’ve seamed one sweater before and I can do it again.  I might have to watch a million videos about seaming again, but that’s a long way off so I’m not too worried about it.

Finally, we went to the hardware store and picked up the rest of the supplies for my Dodec spinning wheel.  We haven’t done anything with those materials yet!

Today consists of DJ’s band concert and Gianna’s softball practice.  We raked leaves, cut the grass, and winterized the back area by the pool yesterday.  Today should also contain laundry and housecleaning and a bit of prep for tomorrow’s classes.  Whew – lucky I got up early!


New Scarf

21 Oct

????????I like it.  Next time I won’t put a twist in it.  That didn’t turn out so well. But since I’m always going to wear it doubled like this, it didn’t matter.  Pattern: Summer Wind by Irish Girl Knits. Yarn: Unraveled sweater that was dyed with Berry Blue Kool Aid.  Needles: Size 5.

What’s next?  I’ve been taking a Craftsy course on how to make sweaters that fit. I always make sweaters that are too big for me. Amy Herzog is the queen of sweaters that fit so this class is by her.  That class led me to her Ravelry group and then to her newly launched Make, wear, love website. 

She has a new custom fitting computerized pattern solution.  I had Gianna measure me AND photograph me with just a camisole on.  That was depressing! But I learned that I was a proportional shaped person (as opposed to a top heavy or bottom heavy serson).  I look good in 3/4 length sleeves and deep neck lines. The 3/4 length sleeves point to my waist making me seem like I have one.  The next step is to pick a pattern and swatch.  I picked a scoop neck 3/4 sleeve top and figured I’d try a large swatch (Amy’s requirements) in that purple yarn that I had started the last sweater with.

????????The above swatch is after washing it by soaking and drying it halfway in my tumble dryer. It’s superwash yarn in fingering weight. And you know what?  I don’t like superwash. I forgot that. It grows so much. I don’t think I’ll like a sweater in this fabric for my first attempt.  I’m going to pick a different yarn that I have in my stash and swatch it next.

Nancy in SC asked about unraveling sweaters. I don’t have much going on this week, so I’ll put up a tutorial on how I do it.

In other news, Gianna had a scrimmage for her ASA softball team yesterday.  She pitched very well. This is the first ASA game she has ever pitched in. It didn’t seem like she was very nervous at all.  The plan was to pitch each of the girls two innings to see how then did. She started the first game.  After the first inning, the opposing coach came over to our dugout and said to our coaches, “Your pitcher has a great change up!”  So that was good.  Third inning she went to shortstop, but in the 6th inning they brought her back in pitching to close the game.  She did well again.  Second game: she played shortstop the whole game but came in during the last inning to close it out again.  Pitching was good – fielding at short; needs some work.  The whole team’s fielding needs work.  That’s what the winter training is about, right?  🙂  Her bat was okay.  She only struck out once.  The other pitcher was very good in the first game.  Gianna hit a nice one that was fielded by the second baseman and a blooper over the first baseman’s head that could have been a stand up triple!  But the third base coach sent her home and the throw was perfect at the plate so she was out.  Once they changed pitchers in the second game, Gianna hit one over the third baseman’s head. The third baseman tipped it with her glove. The shortstop was behind her and dove and caught the ball before it landed on the ground.  Amazing play.

Today Dan and Gianna are both home with the flu or a cold!  Both are coughing and stuffed up and miserable.  I have the same cold without the cough. I’m at work because we don’t have subs and classes must go on! 🙂


19 Oct

Dan and I are making a rustic spinning wheel for me to try out.  It’s called a dodec because the wheel is actually a do-decagon.  We made the base this morning.

????????The intersections are wet because I applied some wood filler in the cracks then wiped it down.  It had not dried before I photographed it.  🙂  This is supposed to be a simple project but we have a way of making everything more difficult than it needs to be.

I should finish the scarf I’ve been knitting some time tonight. I’m also loading another quilt to be quilted.  It’s screaming custom also.  Of course it is…  I’m off to purchase backing because I don’t feel like piecing a back.

What’s Happening Today

15 Sep

I got up early and walked 2.25 miles this morning.  It’s scheduled to rain today and I wanted to make sure I got a walk in today.  I’ve been able to walk about 4 out of the 7 days each week.  I think that really helps with my dieting.  I’ve consistently lost a pound a week since school began. I would lose more if I didn’t go off on the weekends.  But…  It is what it is.  I’ll take a pound a week.

I had a Goodwill trip this week.  I purchased two sweaters.  Here’s one.

????????It was $2 and I’m going to unravel it this morning.  It’s 60% cotton and 40% acrylic.  I don’t usually like either cotton or acrylic but it’s very soft and I think the acrylic will help keep the cotton springy and won’t hurt my hands when knitting it.  If I don’t like it – well, it was only $2, right?

EDIT:  The sweater above unraveled so nicely!

????????It only took about an hour and yielded 264 grams of fingering weight yarn. Plus three buttons!


I also bought an orange cashmere sweater for $2.  No pictures of that one yet.

I received an order of fingering weight purple heathered yarn from Knit Picks yesterday also.

???????? There are six skeins there.  I’m planning on making a short sleeved cardigan.  Out of fingering weight, you ask?  I found a pattern where you use size 6 needles and it drapes nicely.  I think it will be nice for the fall.  Straight boring stockinette stitch.  Should be okay.  Otherwise that’s a lot of socks and scarves in purple, right?

And I started a cowl for my oldest daughter at her insistence.

????????It’s not turning out anything like the pattern.  It’s an easy knit and will be an easy unravel if it doesn’t turn out!  🙂  So even though I said I wasn’t going to start a new knitting project this weekend, I did.  But it will be finished and blocked tonight.

Today’s schedule involves unraveling the GW sweater, balling up the Knit Picks purple yarn, and cleaning my sewing room.  Hopefully I can get a row done on my next Scrap Squad quilt!  I also need to start DJ on the Cyber Aces contest.  BUSY, BUSY, BUSY as usual.

What A Week So Far

12 Sep

It’s only Thursday but I’m exhausted!  Gianna has basketball beginning at 6:15am every morning!  So we are up at 5:30am to make lunches and get ready.  After dropping her off, I knit for 1/2 hour before waking DJ up and getting him out the door by 7:25am.  Then I go to work.  Monday, I subbed for an evening class where the teacher was traveling for business.  That meant working 8am-8:30pm with very little actual breaks.  Tuesday, I had a regular teaching/meeting day (8-3:30), but then went shopping for basketball shoes for Gianna. She was wearing last year’s shoes but was complaining that they hurt her feet.  It ended up that she went up 1.5 sizes!  I’ll say that her feet hurt – the shoes were WAY TOO SMALL!  And yesterday?  An identical day to Monday – day classes followed by my own night class.  Just to shake things up, we had “Spirit Day” at the college which involved my computer club setting up a table and students stopping by to join.  The club members did most of the “work” yesterday but I had to do quite a bit of setup on Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

So see?  That’s why this post is entitled – What a week so far!

I knitted the quickest scarf yet over the past 5 days.


Don’t you just love that edging?  It flows so nicely from that lace leaf pattern!  I must be into knitting leaves.  The last few scarves/shawls have been leaves.  The name of the pattern is “Spring Thaw Shawl“.   I stayed home an extra 1/2 hour this morning to get it blocking on the spare bed.  Tomorrow is supposed to be a bit chilly and I plan on wearing it.  🙂

What’s up for the weekend?  Well, Friday night I’m working the “Fan Gear” tent at the high school football game again.  Then, this weekend I plan on cleaning TWO bedrooms and my sewing room.  I WILL NOT START ANOTHER KNITTING PROJECT!  I will try to get a jump on the two quilts I have in progress (piecing) and quilt some on the Christmas quilt that’s been in hibernation!

That’s the plan at least…