Friday, October 30, 2015

On the needles

Another quick OTN post....

On the needles, deer cable hat being knit for
OTN 10/30/15

The start of a deer cable hat.  No pattern, just making it up as I go.  Well, I have a pattern for the cable (it's out of The Knitter's Handbook) but the hat itself is a totally spur of the moment, cast on a bunch of stitches and make it up as I go hat.  The jury is still out on whether it's a yay or nay project.  The cast on edge is curling just a tiny bit and part of me likes it and part of me thinks it looks like a horrible rookie mistake.  I'll keep knitting until I decide.

Well, I'm off to work.  It's the last weekend of the season.  Part of me is jumping for joy to reclaim some semblance of a normal life and part of me is sad to see it end.  I'll miss the people, not to mention the paycheck.

Meanwhile, I hope you all have a safe but fantastically fun & spooky Halloween.

Happy Halloween and trick or treating

Thursday, October 29, 2015

TBT - Halloween Dress Up

It's TBT/Throwback Thursday, Halloween is only a few days away, and I'm reminded of my grandparents.  My hippie for a day grandparents.

Ti and Big, my grandparents dressed as hippies for Halloween

Okay, so my grandmother's choice of hats isn't what I'd call "hippie" but my grandfather's hair sure is!  They'd dressed as hippies for a costume party and if I remember correctly, they got stopped by the police on the way.  I was pretty young & don't know the details, but just seeing my grandfather with that hair makes me laugh.  He was a judge and didn't have a "hippie" bone in his body.  Neither of my grandparents did.  My grandfather sat around the house in his coat & tie while my grandmother was the type to wear white gloves when she went out to lunch.  They may have dressed immaculately, but they enjoyed life and were great fun.  When they let their hair down, that is.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

On the needles

Today's OTN project...

OTN On the needles fair isle hat self striping yarn
OTN 10/28/15

A fake Fair Isle hat.  A fake Fair Isle hat that I'm trying to ignore.  It's supposed to be my At Work project but I'm loving the yarn and the striping so much, it's hard not to knit on it at home.

I'm not sure what I'm loving about it the most.  Self striping is always a good thing and the fake Fair Isle affect is even more appreciated.  I don't have my gauge exactly right so I'm not getting a perfect Fair Isle look, but that's okay.  Although the yarn is a sport weight, it knits up quickly, more like worsted weight.  That may have something to do with it's hairy alpaca content.  And, it's "cheap craft store yarn."  It's Yarn Bee's Fair Isle from Hobby Lobby.  And did I mention it contains alpaca?  Anyway, I'm loving the simplicity of this project and am having a really hard time saving it for an At Work project.

Friday, October 23, 2015

On the needles

I'm excited about today's OTN project but I can't tell you much about it yet because it's a gift.  But  

on the needles, fingerless gloves for a gift for Amber and yarn from Knit Knot Studios.
OTN 10/23/15

The other thing I'm excited about is that yarn.  Oh my gosh!  I don't think I've ever loved a colorway as much.  The yarn is Falling For You from Knit Knot Studios.  The moment I saw it, I knew I had to have it.   And now that I have it, it is absolutely killing me not to be knitting a pair of socks with it.  I'm not allowing myself to ball the yarn though because I know that as soon as I do, I'll start knitting with it.  And before I knit a pair of socks for myself, I have a bit of Etsy and Christmas gift knitting to do.  Damn Christmas knitting!

On the plus side, I have scratched a few things off my Etsy shop knitting to-do list this week.

slouchy hat, tam, beanie for sale at
Red Slouchy Hat

I photographed & listed this red slouchy hat.  You can tell I love knitting this design since I have several different color variations of it in my shop.

Watch Cap knit with bulky yarn for sale at
Watch Cap

I've also finished several different sizes of this watch cap plus a matching cowl.  I love the yarn's colorway & I liked the yarn itself, but it's a super bulky yarn and super bulky yarns don't get along with my carpal tunnel issues.  It's a shame because I can knit for 14 hours straight to finish a hat in fingering weight yarn and my hands/wrists are fine, but I spend an hour or so knitting with bulky yarn and I have to wear the carpal tunnel wrist brace for the rest of the day and night.  It's the main reason you won't find very many bulky knits in my shop.

Okay, well, I'm off to go buy dog food.  I'd rather be home knitting, but the dogs are pretty excited about my plans.  They do like to eat.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

TBT - The Rescue Rider

It's Throwback Thursday, otherwise known as TBT....

Zack & Sarah on the Rescue Rider
The Rescue Rider

For Zack's first Christmas, Santa brought him the Rescue Rider.  And, boy! Did Zack love that thing!  He pretty much learned to walk by pulling up on the back end of it and pushing it all over the house.  Later, he learned to sit on it and propel himself forward with his feet.  I never understood why it was called a "rescue" rider because it was really a dump truck.  What ever.  Zack carried all his favorite toys, loads of sand and more frogs & turtles than I could count around in the back of it.

Later in life, by the grand old age of 2, Zack had perfected steering his Rescue Rider.  Zack would start at the back of our house & race straight towards our front door.  A glass front door, I might add.  He'd get within inches of slamming into the door, turn the steering wheel, do a half a donut spin, and end up with the back of the Rescue Rider literally only an inch or two away from the door.  He did this over and over and over again and never hit the door!  Not once!

Later still, when his little sister was grown up enough to be chasing him around, calling "Hack, Hack" (because she couldn't pronounce the "z" in Zack,) he'd give her rides on the back and he even carried her dolls around for her occasionally.

Zack drove that Rescue Rider until its wheels fell off.  Literally.  Well, that's not true.  They didn't fall off.  They were hard plastic and he wore huge giant holes in them (from sliding towards the front door, I'm sure) and eventually, the holes got so big the Rescue Rider would no longer role.

It was a Very sad day the day the Rescue Rider went to live with the garbage men.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Catching up

I'm still playing catch up after this summer's work schedule.  I'm slowly getting items I knit over the summer photographed and listed in my Etsy shop as well as getting past & present knitting projects posted here and on Ravelry.  It's a process.

So in an attempt to catch up quicker, here's a few hats I knit during the summer while at work. Have I mentioned how much I love my summer job that allows me to knit during my down time?  Most of these can be found in my Etsy shop if you're interested.

blue rolled brim hat

I absolutely adore the color fluctuations in this hat.  The wool is mostly a deep, royal blue but it's got flecks of green that blur with the blue to look like beautiful deep sea water.  And you know how I feel about anything ocean related.

gray striped rolled brim hat

I love this one too.  I love how the self striping yarn formed the star on the crown and I love the deep but muted grays.  It's masculine but neutral enough to be feminine as well.  A true unisex, boyfriend hat.

dove gray hat

This one is knit with soft dove gray yarn that proved hard to photograph.  At least it was hard to photograph against a white background.  Too much sunlight & the picture was just a big blob of glare, not enough light and the contrast between the gray hat & white background disappeared.

charcoal tweed boyfriend hat

And then there's this one.  The merino/alpaca blend is a deep charcoal with bits of tan and ecru tweed.  It's also another perfect example of a boyfriend hat.  And what do I mean when I call it a boyfriend hat?  A boyfriend hat is the one you gift to your significant other then steal back for yourself.

Well, I'm off to work for the weekend.  It's supposed to be perfect fall weather so I'm sure I'll be busy with work type work and won't have much time for knitting.  There are only a few weekends left in the season so it won't be long before I'm back to knitting 24/7 in front of Netflix.  I'm a little bit excited about that and a little bit sad.  It's been a fun season at the theme park where I work and I'll be sad to see it close for the winter.  But it will give me more time to knit....

Friday, October 16, 2015

Let's go hiking she said

So, at some point this summer, my daughter & I had the, "I want to start hiking."  "OMG! I've been wanting to start hiking too." conversation.  I immediately went to Pinterest, pinned a bunch of pretty pictures, thought about buying hiking boots and pretty much put the thought out of my head.  But Sarah.... Sarah has decided she wants to hike the entire Appalachian Trail.  "Not right now, but sometime," she says.

Sarah keeps begging me to go with her to day-hike up the Blue Ridge Mountains and I keep putting her off.  It's too hot, it's too rainy, there'll be too many tourists....  Not to mention that what a normal hiker would consider a 'day hike' will probably take our slow, out of shape butts three days to hike.  Okay, my out of shape butt.  And when I say "hike" I mean trudge up hill, gasping for breath & tripping over tree roots.   And have I ever mentioned how Sarah goes into hysterics if there's any sort of flying insect within 300 yards of her?

Hiking on the walking path at Maymont

So today, we went to Maymont to practice hiking.  I love Maymont.  It's really just a huge, hilly park with animals where moms push baby carriages and kids run up & down the hills.  But there are hills.  Some of the hills are pretty steep & I figured it was a good place to go prove how out of shape we are.  Okay, okay - how out of shape I am.

A friendly goat at Maymont
Maymont's friendliest goat

We saw some goats.

These goats have a sliding board to play on.  Animals at Maymont
These goats have a sliding board to play on.

And the bear.

Bears at Maymont
Maymont's Bear

By the way, I finished my Autumn in Alta poncho last night.  The yarn I used is the exact color of this bear.  In fact, I sort of look like a big, giant bear in the poncho.  But that's a whole other story.
An owl at Maymont, Richmond, VA

We saw this beautiful owl.

Maymont has a bald eagle.  #RVA
Bald Eagle

And this bald eagle doing his Exorcist imitation.

Maymont has buzzards.  #RVA

And of course, buzzards.  Knowing those buzzards were there, just waiting for me to falter on the path kept me going.  Being pecked to death by buzzards at Maymont is not the way I want to leave this world.

Hiking paths or walking trails at Maymont,  #RVA
Maymont, #RVA

We 'hiked' some more and we climbed the waterfall.

hiking, Maymont, #RVA

I made Sarah look at the giant fish.  Sarah is weirded out by fish like I am by clowns.

giant, overgrown goldfish. Koi pond at Maymont
Koi Pond

I have to admit, the giant overgrown goldfish are a little frightening.  Beautiful, but even I have to admit, a three foot long goldfish is a little bit intimidating.

hiking trail at Maymont, #RVA

And we trudged along a few more paths, stumbling over tree roots.  Or maybe that was just me.

Geese on the koi pond in the Japanese gardens, Maymont, #RVA
Geese at Maymont

And we saw some geese.  You know I'm a sucker for taking pictures of geese.

And as they say, revenge is a bitch.  Since I terrified Sarah by making her walk past the koi pond, she made me hike up a crazy steep hill on a tiny, narrow, muddy path that looked more like a goat path than a path meant for humans.

walking or hiking the Hills at Maymont, #RVA

Here we are at the top, looking back down.

So tonight, Sarah is talking about hitting a real mountain trail next week while I'm hoping my boss is reading this so he'll understand when I call out of work tomorrow because I'm too stiff & sore to put on the uniform.  It's a damn good thing Sarah isn't wanting to do the Appalachian Trail right now.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

TBT - A boy in a cage

It's TBT/Throwback Thursday...

Zack playing in Granny's dog cage, dog kennel
Zack in a cage

What is it with kids and cages?  Zack loved playing in the dog cage at his granny's house and as a child, I remember happily taking my nap in my cousins' dog cage when we'd visit.  Do/did your kids like to play in cages?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Slouchy hats

I recently had an Etsy customer request a slouchy hat in a particular shade of purple.

Open weave slouchy hat, slouchy beanie, dreadlock hat, Jeannie Gray Knits
Custom Ordered Purple Slouchy Hat

While shopping for the right shade of purple yarn, I discovered the red and green yarns were on sale.

slouchy hat, slouchy beanie,
Green Slouchy Hat

After knitting & shipping the purple hat, I knit a green one and the red hat is on the needles now. I expected to complete the red one while at work over the weekend, but it turned out to be a gorgeous fall weathered weekend.  Since the weather was so beautiful, the park was busy and when the park is busy, I'm busy and when I'm busy, I have to work and not knit.  But tonight or maybe tomorrow if I get lazy, I'll have a red hat finished as well.

I really like this hat design.  The hat is slouchy enough to hold either dreadlocks or my crazy-thick hair.  The yarn is acrylic so it's easily washed.  The pattern is an open weave so it's probably not the hat for making snow angels, but it's warm enough for most southern climate fall and winter days but not so hot that it can't be worn indoors as a fashion accessory.  If you're interested, you'll find the green hat, plus several other color options, in my Etsy shop, Jeannie Gray Knits.  While I hesitate to mention it while I'm still enjoying candy corn, it's never too early to begin Christmas shopping.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

TBT - How 'bout those Redskins!

It's Throwback Thursday and I've mentioned before....

Zack at 4 months, already a Redskins fan
Zack, 4 months & already a Skins fan

We root for the Redskins.

Young Redskin fans, Redskins, Skins fan club
Zack, 2 & Sarah 3 months

Before either of them could even sit up on their own, our kids knew who to root for.

So, who do you cheer for?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A brief psychotic break

All the recent rain caused me to have a slight, brief psychotic break.

I stopped knitting and decided to create a calendar instead.

Creating my own DIY calendar & art journal
DIY Calendar

I'm an old fashioned girl and much prefer paper calendars.  I'm also crazy-picky about my calendar.  I get bored easily so it needs to be pretty, but not so pretty I'm afraid to write on it.  It needs to have lots of room to write a variety of things.  It needs to be roomy enough to hold my to-do lists, shopping lists, dreams, desires, books to read lists, knitting deadlines and of course all the normal calendary stuff like appointments, vacation days, work schedules, and of course, paydays.  I like it to be colorful, but not color coded.  Like I said, I have high expectations and I'm picky.

I also like to journal a little bit about my days.  Not Journal journal, just a few words up to a full sentence to remind me of the how the day went.  I also like to "artsy" it up a bit, except that I'm horrible at painting, drawing, and pretty much anything else that's done freehand.

It's next to impossible to find a calendar that suits me.  In the past, I've kept two.  One for the scheduling & normal calendar stuff and one for the journaling/artsy stuff.  But often, the one or two word journal entry would make much more sense if seen along with that day's "normal" calendar page.

creating my own calendar and art journal
DIY calendar

 So I decided to make my own.  I bought a cheap spiral bound art journal and began making my own.  And thus, the psychotic break.

What the hell was I thinking?  So, yeah, it's fun playing with the colors, and the YouTube videos I watched about making your own calendar/journal were inspiring, but.... Good Lord!  I worked on this project for four days straight and only got one month's worth of calendar created.  At this rate, I will finish making 2016's calendar sometime in 2035.

I think I should probably just stick to knitting.

Meanwhile, because it is October & the season of scary things...

garden spider on my front porch
Mr. Spider

Mr. Spider is still hanging out on my front porch.  No one has had the nerve or the will to remove him.  And now, since he hung out there all through the not a hurricane, but a hell of a lot of rain weeklong weather episode, I feel like he's earned the right to keep his place.  He does have some pretty brown stripes and I'm quite proud to say that, proportionally, he gained more weight eating that butterfly last week than I did during my Week Of Never Ending Rain junk food binge.  Yeah, I think I'll let him stay a while.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

TBT - Rain

Have I mentioned that it's been raining for 4,000 days straight?  Well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it has rained every day for the last five or six days.  Maybe even seven.  I've lost count.  My brain is so moldy from all the rain I can't even remember when the rain started.  It feels like there was never a time when it wasn't raining.  Like there's no Before.

Anyway, it's been raining.  Of course it has.  The State Fair is in town.  It always rains during Fair Week.

But this rain has been a little different.  This has been a lot of rain, not just normal, Fair Week drizzle.  The local news has been full of reports of the flooding taking place at JMU and Va. Tech.  And this weekend, Hurricane Joaquin should make it's arrival along the Virginia Coast.  Joaquin could bring us up to ten more inches of rain.  Ten!

Ten inches of rain is what we had with Gaston.  Gaston had tractor-trailers floating down Richmond's Main Street.  Floating tractor-trailers!  Do you have any idea how much water it takes to float a tractor-trailer?  I don't, but I know it's a lot and that's what we had with Gasont.  A lot of freaking water.

And that brings me to today's TBT pictures.

Gaston flooded Richmond, VA and our home in Providence Forge
Gaston flooding, Providence Forge, VA

We had a little flooding with Gaston.  That is not a photo of the river we lived beside.  Nope, it's our road.  And if you look closely, over there on the right by the No Outlet sign, you'll see some of our belongings floating away.

Zack & Sarah canoe in Gaston's flood water in our yard
Canoeing in the yard

The one good thing about Gaston was that the kids learned how to paddle a canoe.  Again, that's our yard, not the river.  And if you look closer, just to the right of the canoe's bow, you'll see the high water mark on the telephone pole.  Yep!  The water in our yard was armpit deep on my 6'4 husband.

Ever since Gaston, I get a little skittish whenever we have a heavy rain storm.  Don't get me wrong - I love a good storm.  There's nothing much better than being safely tucked away in the warm, dry house, knitting and reading (hopefully not by candle light,) while wild weather rages outside.  I even like hurricanes.  All that wind and water and danger excites me just a bit.  Some people get their thrills from jumping from airplanes or climbing steep cliffs or even alligator wrestling.  I get my thrills watching the weather rage while knowing I'm safely tucked away inside with a nice sturdy roof over my head and soft yarn in my hands.

But this weekend has me a little more nervous than excited.  All that flood water that's up in the mountains near JMU & Va. Tech has to flow downwards.  Down toward us.  And that flood water will be arriving just about the same time Joaquin does.  And we sold the canoe a few years ago.

I can't decide which I should be more focused on as far as storm preparations go.  Should I go yarn & book shopping?  Should I go to the grocery store & stock up on water and toilet paper?  Or should I go buy another canoe?