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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

The best part of 2009

As most years go, 2009 was no different than others with all the highs and lows that come during a year.  However, one major event happened that outshines the rest.

Say hello to my 3rd grandson!

Although we received early test results that he may not make it full term and if he did would probably not live very long, the test result was wrong!  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to find out he was normal until he was born and this is the photo of my step-daughter with her new son when she received the news that he was perfect in every way.  If you look closely, you’ll see a tear running down her cheek.

I’ve never experienced full-term childbirth for myself, so I felt lucky & honored to be present during my grandsons birth.  It was an indescribable experience & one that I won’t ever forget.  It was also amazing to watch my other 2 grandsons see their baby brother for the first time.  I love those boys like they were my own flesh and blood.

It’s been fun & interesting to watch him change & grow over the last few months.

They grow up so fast!

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Still Quiet

We interrupt this blog silence for .. more of the same.  Although I have no excuse for lack of blogging the last half of October, my mother-in-laws unexpected hospital visit and subsequent death has had us wishing November would just end already.  It’s been a very trying month and we are ready for it to be over.  However, she’s not having her burial or memorial service until December 12th, so maybe we’ll be wanting to skip December as well.

I hope that my desire to blog and read blogs will return again soon, but for now, I’m just trying to help myself and my husband get over the grief.  He says he feels a little bit like an orphan since now both of his parents are gone, but thankfully we’ve got a great support network of people here.

Any knitting I’ve worked on or completed is on my Ravelry projects page, and although I’ve got a huge stack of FO’s that just need to be blocked, even my desire to knit much has slipped a bit lately. Hopefully all mojo will return soon and this quiet blog will see some action again.

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On Thursday, July 10th, I took another step on the birthday hill and I can see the top so clearly, that I’m ready to start walking backwards. No really, I must admit I’m a bit sad to hit 39 years old, but that’s only because my 30’s have been my best years ever!

Since my father’s retirement party was in southern Idaho the day after my birthday, we left on July 8th for our drive from Southern California to Southern Idaho. The drive through southern Utah is so beautiful and I just love this red rock that is everywhere.

Originally I was very worried about the 14 hour drive to my parents home and since fuel costs are so high, we really couldn’t afford to stop and stay at a hotel. I was especially concerned because with my fibromyalgia, you just never know how a lengthy car ride is going to be. Thankfully, my most amazing friend Laura came to the rescue and allowed us use of her timeshare points to stay at the Cedar Breaks Lodge in Brian Head, Utah.

Miraculously the lodge was exactly the midpoint in our trip, so we stayed there the night of the 8th and woke the following day to this beautiful view.

The lodge sits at the base of the Brian Head Ski Resort and I can just picture this all covered in snow. It must be beautiful.

The following day, July 10th, had an auspicious start (that’s a whole other story), but at noon I was surprised by getting to visit the local fiber farm, Hartwell’s Lazy PJ Ranch.

Hubby gave me a card with a bunch of money in it to spend at the fiber farm, and so I got some superwash merino and soysilk fiber, a latern moon spinning basket, some back issues of Spin-Off magazine and a beautiful Gita Marie orifice hook.

Of course the batteries on my camera died. So, I was at the mercy of my mother’s picture taking skills. I won’t humiliate myself with showing the photos of my eyes closed and my tongue sticking out, but I do have this photo of me with a suri alpaca.

After the fiber farm, we had lunch at the local Mexican restaurant and later that day I received a few gifts. My favorite one was this “cake” my sister made me.

It’s a pile of the most delicious chocolate frosting ever with 3 balls of marzipan yarn in the center. I know she was disappointed that she didn’t have time to make me a “real” cake, but she was so busy making the retirement cake for my dad, that I asked her not to make one for me. After that candle was blown out, I asked for a package of graham crackers and scooped up piles of frosting on them. Mmmm …. my favorite.

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I love that knitting for babies is quick, but my last experience knitting a baby sweater was semi-frustrating so I was hesitant to try it again. In fact, it’s been a year since I last knit something for a baby, but my baby brother’s wife is expecting their 2nd child in September, so you’ll see a bit of baby knitting here for the next few months.

I started off with the Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket, but now that I’ve taken a close look at it, I’m going to rip it back and start again. I thought adding a complimentary color stripe of the ArtYarns Supermerino would be great, but for this pattern, not so much. I think it looks a little bit like a poo stain on the back and sleeve ends.

Although I was going to tackle the Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Sweater on Two Needles next, I remembered that I’d purchased the Tulips Baby Cardigan kit while I was at Stitches West.

Pattern: Tulips, A Colorful Cardigan for Baby by Lindsay Pekny
Size: 6-9 months
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy
Needles: Knit Picks Options Circular; size 3.75 mm (US 5) and 4.5 mm (US 7)

Raveled here

The kit I purchased included the pattern (for all sizes) and enough yarn of the eight colors needed for this pattern for a 6-9 month old baby. The entire kit cost me $45, and I think I may even have enough yarn remaining to knit one of these for a newborn or maybe even one of those American Girl Dolls that my nieces are crazy about.

From the moment I cast on, until the moment I cast off, I honestly enjoyed knitting this sweater. The pattern is relatively simple and the detail of the i-cord bind off around the edge is the perfect finishing touch.

The yarn is not only a very soft merino and easy to work with, but the subtle color shading is beautiful. I highly recommend this pattern and yarn to anyone needing a baby gift.

I may be slow responding to emails and blog reading for the next week. Hubby and I are driving from California through Nevada and Utah to Idaho on Tuesday morning for my dads retirement party. He is finally retiring on Friday from serving the public as a police officer for 43 years. I’m worried about him retiring though. Law enforcement has been his life and he seems to be a bit depressed lately. Mom mentioned that it might be nice to get him out of his environment and to drive back with us when we return to California. I guess I better get my knitting and spinning projects out of the guest room.

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I wonder if the locals in Mexico enjoyed hearing me attempt Spanish as much as I enjoyed hearing the locals attempt English. My favorite word was vacation. When pronounced by a local, it sounded like “bay-kay-she-on”. I probably will forever refer to our vacations now as “bay-kay-she-ons”.

We had a full eight days of fun in the sun in San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas on the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. We rented a unit from an owner at the Coral Baja Resort which was recently acquired by Wyndham. We stayed in a one-bedroom unit with a full kitchen and living room, although most of the the time we were only there *sleeping*. Fortunately for us, the other family members staying there had the penthouse, so that ended up being the indoor hang out spot.

Day 1: Lets just say that I started off vacation by ending day one worshipping the porcelain god. On the upside, here was the view from our balcony I got to see the following morning:

Pool View from Room

Beach View from room

Day 2: One of the water pipes for the pool burst, so most of the day was spent in the sun waiting for everything to get fixed. Luckily at 3pm everything was in working condition, just in time for the arrival of my step-daughter, son-in-law and grandkids.

Grandsons first day at the pool

Day 3 & 4: Nothing beats two days at the pool basking in the sun, drinking margaritas, and playing in the pool. I even managed to get in some sample knitting time under a big umbrella to keep me cool.
Sample Knit on Vacation

Day 5: Even though the guys got to spend many hours golfing, that afternoon we hung out at Santa Maria beach. I love this photo. I think my step-daughters family is so cute… even from behind.

Step-Daughters Family at Santa Maria beach

Day 6: We drove into Cabo San Lucas and spent that day at the Mango Deck Beach Club at Medano Beach. Initially the local vendors that come up to you every 5 minutes asking you to buy their *junk* are annoying, but after a few beers, margaritas, and shots, you don’t really care anymore and somehow you are convinced to buy stuff. We definitely came home that afternoon with our fair share of t-shirts, hats, and silver jewelry.

Mango Deck in Cabo

We also participated in a competition called “Name That Movie”. The DJ would play 3 seconds of a song and you’d have to guess what movie it was from. The winning movie was guessed by yours truly (Dr. Zhivago). Of course, when the prize winning bucket of beer and tequila shots were delivered to our group, hubby and I were off checking out the Arch and Lovers Beach on a jet ski. Unfortunately FMS had reared its ugly head that day and even with a *little* bit of alcohol, I only felt well enough for a 10-minute ride. Thankfully our 3-yr-old grandson is fearless, so he finished up my ride with his grandpa.

Grandpa & Grandson on Jet Ski

Day 7: The guys were off again by themselves early this morning to try their hand at fishing. When all was said and done, we had 2 Tuna, 4 Halibut and 1 Red Snapper. Since the penthouse had a BBQ on the patio, we had quite the fish feast for dinner and the men were all smiles that they *provided* dinner for the evening.

Hubby & the Red Snaper

That afternoon when they’d returned from fishing, the resort had a beer drinking contest and not only did my step-daughter beat out her husband, but she beat out everyone and won! Her daddy was so proud.

Beer Drinking Contest

Day 8: For whatever reason, we got a late start and only got to spend a few hours at Chileno Beach.

Camillo Beach

This beach is by far the best in the area and we collected lots of sea glass, saw tiny black crabs climbing the rocky areas, and wished we’d had time to snorkel. There are a lot of amazing fish to see in that water and we will definitely make this beach a must-visit when we return to Cabo in the future.

Hubby & I at Camillo Beach

In the afternoon we went shopping at the town closest to us, San Jose del Cabo. We had a great time going through all the shops and was caught off guard a bit by all the Dia de la Muerte items for sale. I know it’s a big part of Mexican tradition, but it was still a bit surprising. Mixed in with the local downtown shopping area, was the Mission of San Jose del Cabo Anuiti which was founded in 1730.

Mission of San Jose del Cabo Anuiti

But our best find of the day was the Tropicana Inn. This is a beautiful hotel and restaurant with absolutely amazing food. The grandkids were fascinated by the lobster tank in the center of the restaurant, but only the eldest was brave enough to touch one.

Grandkids and the Lobster

Day 9: Today was my son-in-laws 40th birthday, (so weird that he’s a year older than me), so the morning was spent at the pool and the afternoon was spent in Cabo San Lucas for shopping and dinner. He requested to have dinner at Mi Casa, the same restaurant he and his wife ate at when they came here for their honeymoon.

Everything we ate and drank were complete perfection from the homemade corn tortillas

Hand Made Corn Tortillas Mi Casa

to the huge margaritas that are the best I’ve ever had. And believe me, I’ve had my fair share of margaritas during my life.

Margaritas at Mi Casa

Not only was our son-in-law given birthday “cake” for dessert, but they also poured a shot of I-don’t-know-what down his throat and then shook his head a few times.

Son-In-Law Birthday Party

It was a wonderful evening of good food and drinks with family and I’ll never forget it.

Day 10: That morning we spent watching the grandkids play in the pool, and that afternoon we found ourselves saying goodbye and headed off to the airport.

Grandkids in the Pool

It was a wonderful vacation, but I must say I missed my dogs, my home, and my spinning wheel. So if you don’t see me around the blogs for a few days, you know where I’ll be.

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I want this to be a post about my latest creation, an absolutely stunning shawl designed by my girlfriend Laura, but I’ve been sick the last few days and haven’t even felt up to photographing it. However, I do have FO’s to share from December.

Greenery Hats

Pattern: Greenery Hat by Lilith Parker

Source: PDF or Ravelry

Yarn: Classic Elite Waterspun; Blue Spruce; Needles: 4.5 mm / US 7

Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash; 816 Grey & 819 Brown; Needles: 4.0 mm / US 6

I liked this hat pattern so much, I made 3 of them and kept one for myself. The hat knit up quickly and easily and all the hats seemed to fit quite well. I love the color of the Classic Elite yarn. Although the yarn is discontinued, I really quite liked it. You can’t tell in the photos, but it had a felted quality about it.

Chevalier Mittens

Pattern: Chevalier Mittens by Tikru

Source: MadeByMyself and Ravelry

Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash; 816 Grey; Needles: 4.5 mm/ US 7

Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash; 819 Brown; Needles: 3.75 mm / US 5

Yarn: Classic Elite Waterspun; Blue Spruce; Needles: 3.75 mm / US 5

Grey Mitten Modifications: I omitted rows 75 – 78 and modified the top decrease section as explained by Storm Moon Knits.

Brown & Blue Mitten Modifications: I omitted rows 29-32 and 75-78 and modified the top decrease section as explained by Storm Moon Knits.

Unfortunately they all ended up being too long even with omitting the rows and going down a needle size. The worst part though was that I lost one of the grey ones on my drive home from Idaho back to California. I swear, somedays it’s a good thing my head is attached.

The brown gloves and hat went to my middle sister for her December birthday. She had originally requested fingerless gloves with mitten tops, but after attempting to knit those twice, I gave up. When I saw the Chevalier Mitten pattern, I hoped the cable design would help her forget her original request. She called me just a few days ago and asked for more gloves and hats. Obviously she likes them.

Sisters in handknits

The blue/green gloves and hat went to my sister 14 months younger than I for her September birthday. I know, I was a teensy bit late. I don’t know if she uses them or not since she hasn’t spoken to me since the fiasco at my mom’s house 6 weeks ago. Had I know she was going to say such hurtful things to me two days after I gave them to her, I would have kept them. I’ve always had a policy to only knit for those that would appreciate the love & care I put into a hand knit item. Unfortunately I don’t think she understands that. What’s that saying, “once bitten, twice shy?”

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Happy Birthday baby sister (who’s not quite a “baby” anymore). Not only is she one of my sisters, but even if she weren’t, I would like to think that we still would be close friends.
My sister is a very talented artist and a delicious baker, so last year she combined the two and started making one-of-a-kind cakes. I’m always amazed at the fantastic confections she creates and I hope that someday I’ll be lucky enough to be the recipient of one of her cakes.
Last year on her birthday I let her choose one of four fabulous gifts, but this year I figured it out all by myself. Since her favorite color is green, and since I know she doesn’t have any for herself, I decided to treat her to some hand knit socks. Unfortunately, they didn’t get complete in time to make it in her mailbox for today, but they are going in the mail on Monday (along with the delayed socks I knit for her daughter’s December birthday). Do we see a horrible trend here or what?
A Twinkle in the Congo

Pattern: Twinkle Toes by Cookie A.
Yarn: Cider Moon Glacier in Congo
Needles: 3.5mm (US 4) 24″ KnitPicks circulars
Pattern Notes: This is definitely a great pattern to try if you are intimidated by other patterns written by here. Since it’s knit with DK weight yarn, it knits up fairly quickly, but still introduces you to Cookie’s fabulous design work. I knit these two at a time on 2 circular needles, and cast on using Judy’s magic cast-on (of course). I knit 5 pattern repeats before starting the instep increases, but I should have only knit 4. In the heel section, I used the yarn over method that Cookie demonstrated on the Knitty Gritty episode instead of wrapping the stitches as written in the directions. I knit 6 pattern repeats on the leg which makes them a bit long, but hopefully she prefers a longer leg like I do. I used the sewn cast-off for the very first time and I’m wondering why I never tried it before. Brilliant.
Yarn Notes: It’s super soft, squishy, the color variation is beautiful, and it smells great. The downside is that in Sept 2007, the Cider Moon blog said that due to a legal matter, they’ve stopped doing business. It’s such a shame because I’m not one to typically purchase DK weight yarn, but I really think this is one I’d purchase again. Hopefully whatever the issue is, it will be resolved soon.

Final Thoughts: While I’m pleased overall with how these turned out, I’m afraid they may be a tad too big for her. Then again, she could just wear them around the house as big slouchy socks, right?

Thanks to all of you for your comments on my last post. I’m still trying to sort through all the emails and read each of your blogs, so bear with me while I try to catch up this week.

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