Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve Eve

It's my favorite kind of pre-holiday afternoon.  The weather is cool and overcast, all my holiday knitting is done.  Gifts are all wrapped and either delivered or under the tree.  All the holiday cooking I can do ahead of time is finished.  Except for a few minor items (a couple of loads of laundry, putting the kitchen to rights, ironing the holiday tablecloth) all I have to do the rest of the day is relax, knit and watch holiday movies while letting Roomba do the vacuuming.

What am I knitting?  Well, since I'm sort of taking the afternoon off, I'm knitting Granny's Favorite Dishcloth, also known as the "Idiot's Dishcloth" since it was published in "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Knitting & Crocheting".  When I finish this post, I'm going to finish up my few little chores, then kick back and knit until I nap.

I send each of you all my hopes for a holiday season full of peace and contentment!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Deck the Halls

Had I ever told you that I sing with a madrigal group during the holiday season?  It's lots of fun!  We begin rehearsals in late August, meeting one evening a week to learn the music we'll perform at various locations during early December.

In fact, right now I'm killing a few moments waiting to go to rehearsal.  I heard a little earlier that it's spitting snow in my part of the world, so it will seem extra-Christmassy this evening when we begin singing holiday songs with snow drifting lazily past the glass doors of the studio. I just love this time of year, don't you?

My holiday knitting is nearly completed.  I actually thought I was finished, but thought of a couple more quick projects I need to complete.  In fact I have one of them in my messenger bag with my madrigal music, so maybe I'll mosey on over to the studio and knit for a few minutes before rehearsal.  :-)

Friday, November 4, 2011


Ever have a day that's fairly crummy, but not because of anything that happened to you personally?  I had one of those today.

My day wasn't so bad for myself, but my dear daughter had a perfectly awful day.  While in the hospital recovering from thyroid surgery and wanting to go home, she learned that one of her beloved cats had been struck by a car and killed.  To top it off, it's her birthday.  And she lives in Australia, too far away for me to give her a hug.

It's just a sad, sad evening.  :-(

Monday, October 17, 2011

Best Laid Plans

I was on leave last week....a whole week away from the office!  I was so glad to have some time for doing just what I wanted to do for a change!

It didn't work out quite like I'd planned.

On Day One (Saturday) I did some laundry and household drudgery with (naturally) some knitting tossed in here and there.

On Day Two (Sunday) I went to visit my parents.  Mom had an upper respiratory thing going on which was distressing, but otherwise it was a good day.

On Day Three (Monday) I went to a local park and spent a lovely day exploring their nature center and walking the lakeside trail, snapping digital photos of beautiful fall color.

On Day Four (Tuesday) I woke up sick.  Can you believe it?  I'd caught Mom's cold.  Is my luck crappy or what??

So here's the good news:  Mom's much better, and I was well enough to return to work today.  And my brief illness caused me to have to stay in the apartment and rest.  Which I needed.  REALLY needed.

One day I didn't feel well enough to knit, but the other days were filled with mugs of hot tea, an Alka-Seltzer Cold medication buzz, and lots of yarn.

All in all, not a bad week.  :-)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Week.....A WHOLE WEEK!!

Once upon a time there was a knitter known on the internet as Cricket54.  Cricket was a fairly new knitter fumbling her way through learning how to knit with help from friends and the wonderful informative sites she found online.  She had some problems in 2009 due to a back injury and gives knitting full credit for helping her keep her sanity during the long wait for surgery that fixed the problem.

This year, knitting saved her sanity again (except for the fact that she's suddenly begun to post her blog in the third person for no apparent reason....*ROTF*) by helping her deal with an extremely stressful year at the office.

Okay, back to first person.  I'm ON VACATION THIS WEEK!!  *happy joyous dance*  With any kind of luck whatsoever the most strenuous thing I'm going to do is knit and drink copious amounts of coffee (my drug of choice).  I have several different projects on needles at the moment and hope to make some progress this week.  I'm not putting any pressure on myself about it, though.  Nothing has to be finished this week.  NOTHING.  I plan to knit while relaxing, and if I get tired, I'll quit.

This is my week to chill out and recharge my batteries.  My motto for the week:  "The dustbunnies have waited this long, they can wait a few days longer!!"

Hope your week is as restful as I plan for mine to be, dear knitterly friends!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Month??

Hard to believe that it's been nearly a month since I posted here last....this month just got away from me!! There's been a lot going on at the office, but I've been able to keep my sanity by knitting. Hooray for knitting!! *LOL* In the past month I've finished a few projects and worked on a few more:

  • Soap Socks - I've been knitting these up for Christmas gifts.  Cute, fun, quick!
  • Christmas Lights - I knit a set of these last year to decorate my office, but gave them away.  So, I'm knitting another set for my office.
  • Zimmerman's Surprise Jacket - Adult Sized - I've knit several Baby Surprise Jackets and decided to treat myself to one.
  • "Plain Vanilla" Socks - my favorite socks to knit....simple K3P1 rib on top of the foot, stockinette on the sole, good durable heel flap, and K3P1 rib on the leg.  Two-at-a-time, toe-up.  Simple, small enough to carry in your purse.  I finished one pair and started another.  Winter's coming, and I love my warm wool winter socks!
  • Grandma's Favorite Dishcloth - I keep a couple of these on a circular needle all the time.  Not only are they good sturdy dishcloths, they also make nice gifts.  Everyone always appreciates them!
So that's what I've been up to, I'll close and pick up my Surprise Jacket and knit a few rows before getting back to household chores.

Have a great Sunday, everyone!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Evening

I've been battling a virus all weekend, not desperately ill, but just feeling crummy. I've felt too guilty to gripe, though, since so many folks on the coast have been dealing with a hurricane and my biggest problem has been a low-grade fever and achy joints.

So this evening I'm contenting myself with watching "Julie and Julia" on Lifetime, sipping iced coffee (yum!) and knitting a market bag. I started the market bag last weekend as a Christmas gift for one of my co-workers and have been working on it off and on during the past week. Just a row here and there. Amazingly enough, I think I'll finish it before bedtime tonight. I'm now working on the top band just before starting the handle.

This is the third of these market bags I've made; it's a great pattern, pretty easy knitting, and makes a neat gift. If you're on (and if you're not, you SHOULD be!!) you can click here to see the Grrlfriend Market Bag. It's a free download, and you can knit it up from just about any kind of yarn you have on hand. I knit the first two from a cotton/linen blend of yarn I had, and I'm making this one from the same type of cotton yarn I use for dishcloths. It's working up really nicely....I'm very pleased!

And so, friends, back to "Julie and Julia", my iced coffee, and my market bag, all of which are patiently waiting for me to finish this blog post. :-)

Have a great evening, everyone!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cricket's a Year Older!

Yes, today's my birthday! I'm not going to try to hide my age, because it's probably pretty obvious that the "54" in Cricket54 is my birth year. *LOL*

It's been a good birthday, even if I did have to go to the office today. My friends at work gave me lots of lovely cards, gifts, and congratulatory e-mails. My Facebook friends showered me with birthday wishes. And I treated myself to a wonderful birthday dinner from Cracker Barrel.

So now, stuffed full and happy, I'm going to settle into my recliner with my knitting (nearly finished with the gusset on my socks) and watch one of my birthday gifts: the anniversary edition of "The Big Lebowski".

The Dude abides.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Geek/Knitter Moment

This evening I'm enjoying a total geek/knitter moment. I bought myself a Roomba and can now knit and vacuum at the same time. *LOL*

You gotta love technology!

A New Knitter

Saturday I went to the reunion of my Dad's side of the family. I don't know how your family reunions go, but ours involve a large crowd of relatives, (usually) hot weather, and TONS of delicious food! There are plenty of good cooks in the family, and it always shows at a reunion.

Ever since I started knitting I carry a project bag to the reunion. I don't play the outdoor games at the reunion because it's too dang hot, and the indoor games are usually cake walks or bingo which are more fun to watch than to actually do. So I knit and visit with relatives.

By Saturday afternoon the heat had taken a toll on several of the kids who'd been playing outdoors. At that time I was sitting on the porch of the Ruritan building where we were having the gathering, knitting some dishcloths I'd been working on for Christmas gifts.

A very polite young girl named Cara (or Kara, I'm not sure how she spells it) who turned out to be related to me by marriage through a second cousin came and sat on the bench beside me and began asking questions about what I was doing. I spent the next few minutes giving her a very broad overview of knitting: "just making loops of this cotton yarn with these metal needles". When I saw that she was really paying attention, I handed her the dishcloth I was knitting and taught her a knit stitch. She picked it up quickly, and I showed her a purl stitch. It was such fun to watch her face light up when she saw that she was actually KNITTING! Now I know why teachers enjoy their work when they have attentive students.

When the time came for her to get ready to leave, I bound off the triangle of knitted material she'd been working with and gave it to her for a souvenir. Her mother came to thank me for teaching her, and I told her in all honesty that it had been as much fun for me as it had for her.

A good Saturday!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Knitting Socks: Sanity Saver!

Last weekend was a particularly rough one. Friday evening my dear little 70-plus aunt took a particularly nasty fall; she broke her nose and wound up being airlifted from her home (about two hours driving-time away from me) to the hospital only 3 miles from my apartment. I'll get to the important part first: she lost a frightening amount of blood (she's on blood thinner), she's terribly bruised and awfully sore, but she's back home now and the doctors say she's going to be okay, thank goodness!

Oddly enough, fate had prepared me better than normally. My little car was full of gas, I had plenty of cash on hand (well....plenty for me, anyway), and my Kindle was in my purse. As I ran out the door to try to beat the helicopter to the hospital, I grabbed a partially-knitted pair of socks from the basket beside my recliner and dropped them into my purse.

Because the socks I threw into my bag were my favorite "plain vanilla" socks, I was able to stand outside the trauma room while waiting for procedures to be done and knit away. (Knit 3, purl 1 on top of the foot, plain knit on the sole.) Round and round, over and over. The repetition helped center me, and I was able to be calm and reassuring when I spoke with my aunt.

Circumstances were such that she had to be transferred to another hospital; I stayed with her all night and until late Saturday afternoon. Knitting helped keep me awake and available at a moment's notice each time she needed anything. It had been YEARS since I'd pulled an "all-nighter", and knitting those plain socks was unbelievably helpful. As I told a nurse in the wee hours of the morning Saturday, knitting is cheaper than therapy. Not to mention the fact that you get some pretty interesting socks in the deal!

I'm strongly considering keeping a project bag in the car from now on, just in case of an emergency. As much as I love my Kindle (in fact, I keep tons of knitting patterns on it), reading wouldn't have been an option during a lot of the situations we dealt with over the weekend. I could knit and carry on conversations with my parents, nurses, and doctors. In fact, the knitting actually started several conversations with people, as it always does when I'm knitting in public.

If you've never knitted in public, please try it sometime. Not only is it fun and productive, you meet lots of interesting folks who are either:
  1. knitters,
  2. crocheters,
  3. would-be knitters or crocheters,
  4. folks with friends or relatives who are knitters or crocheters, or
  5. folks with memories of mothers or grandmothers who were knitters or crocheters.
And so, fellow knitsters, I leave you with this advice: Knitting is therapeutic, cheap, and non-fattening. Who can ask for anything more?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shawl Finished!

Well, not completely....but pretty close! I finished the knitting last night, but still need to hide the ends and then it will be ready to block! *happy dance* As soon as I finish this blog entry, I'll get the ends hidden. I might even get it blocked tonight. Or maybe not. Just depends. *LOL*

I've ordered yarn to knit myself the adult version of Elizabeth Zimmerman's "Baby Surprise Jacket". I've knit four of the baby-sized ones and decided the next one would be for me. :-)

Now, what should I knit next? I really need to get to work on the rest of my Christmas knitting, so I guess that should be the next thing I finish up.

Okay, enough typing about knitting....gotta get those ends hidden on the shawl!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Shawl Update and a Bunny

The shawl/shawlette is progressing nicely. I'm really happy with the way the colors are developing and am anxious now to finish it so I can block it and see what it REALLY looks like. That's the only thing I don't care for with knitting lace....I never know what it's going to look like until it comes off the blocking pads!

Last Sunday, though, I needed a brief respite from the shawl and decided to use some of the yarn I'd found at Hobby Lobby (more about that in a moment) and knit a toy for my great-niece. I'd found a pattern on Ravelry several months ago for a "Bunny Blanket Buddy". Say that fast five times! Even though I'm a slow knitter, it worked up in just 3 or 4 hours and is cute as ... a bunny! *LOL*

Now, about my trip to Hobby Lobby for yarn. I'd had lunch with a friend Saturday and was very near Hobby Lobby, so I decided to drop in to check out their supply of yarn. I was very disappointed to find that it was down to HALF of what it had been the last time I was there. I managed to find some sock yarn and some baby yarn for toys, but all in all I was just plain disheartened.

Trips to my LYS result in my spending MUCH too much money, so I guess I'll have to resort to my old standby, KnitPicks, even though I've read some less-than-great reviews recently on the web about their quality. The good news is that their customer service has always been great, so I'm sure if I order something I'm unhappy with that they will be helpful in getting it replaced.

It would just be so lovely to be able to go to a local shop to buy good yarn at discount prices. I've never understood why Wal-Mart doesn't understand that some of us need more choices than Red Heart and Peaches 'n Cream. *mournful sigh*

Oh, well. I guess I'll just have to content myself with finding projects to use up some of my stash. But let's face it, even if we HAVE plenty of yarn on hand, sometimes it's fun to just go shopping for MORE YARN!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Darn Near Perfect

This evening is darn near perfect. The work week is done, I have a Netflix movie to watch, and I'm working on a knitting project I'm really enjoying!

I wanted to knit something for a friend who's retiring soon. I had two gorgeous balls of yarn that I'd been saving for some special project that were a colorway that I knew my friend would really like.

So, what could I do with 440 yards of fingering weight yarn? I knew the yarn would make a beautiful scarf, but I had knit a scarf for her for Christmas last year. Hmmmm. How about a shawl?

Happily I hopped onto the internet and searched Ravelry for something appropriate. I found lots of beautiful patterns, but most of them required at least 600 yards of fingering weight yarn. Phooey. I would need another ball of this yarn, and I've had this yarn long enough that the odds are against getting another ball of it at this point.

I narrowed my search to the yardage I have available. Nothing really struck my fancy. I perused the patterns I had on hand. Again, nothing really grabbed me.

Then it occurred to me that maybe I could work a feather and fan pattern into a shawl. Sure, why not? Just start with three repeats of feather and fan, and increase it each row until it's the width I want.

So far I've worked about six inches from the beginning, and I've increased enough on each side of the "center 3" repeats of feather and fan to make another repeat on each side (a total of 5 repeats now).

I've used about half of my first ball of yarn, so this may turn out to be a "shawlette" instead of a shawl, but it's looking really pretty. I'll give you updates as it goes along.

As for now, I'm going to pop in my Netflix DVD and get back to my sticks and string. Happy Friday, everyone!

Saturday, June 11, 2011


At long last, life at the office is back to semi-normal. The workload is still terrible and the new computer system is still a nightmare, but at least my hours are back to 40 hours a week. I must confess that the past few months have taken a toll. Hopefully now I can begin to get my life back in order.

For awhile I was forced to cut my beloved knitting back drastically. I was just too exhausted after work to even pick up the knitting needles. As the hours gradually approached a near-normal work week again, I actually FORCED myself to pick up a fairly mindless project for at least a half-hour in the evenings. It helps quiet my mind and center my emotions. Thank goodness for the "granny dishcloth" pattern. Nothing to think about, busy hands, quiet mind, useful end product!

There have been many times in the recent past that I've been grateful that I learned to knit. To paraphrase the Yarn Harlot, I don't knit because I'm patient, I'm patient because I knit.

I've also started knitting some grocery bag dispensers (early start on Christmas gifts). I adapted the pattern from several other patterns I found on Ravelry and other internet sites. I've posted my version in the "freebies" section (see the link on the right) if you'd like to try one. It's a simple project that knits up quickly. Sometimes it's good to work on an "instant gratification" project. :-)

Have a great weekend, fellow knitsters!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mental Health Day

I used to work with a guy who took what he called "Mental Health" days off work. He wasn't really sick, but needed a day off to avoid losing his mind. I've been working tons of extra hours lately (the Hindenburg Computer System Conversion continues), but today has been, happily, a day completely OFF from the office. And boy, did I need it.

I've spent it watching things I'd TiVo'd but hadn't had time to watch, watching "The King's Speech" on DVD (which I really liked....Colin Firth makes me tired heart go pitty-pat), and knitting a bit on some socks I've been working on a little at a time for ages. The day's nearly over....because it's been rainy today, dark will come early. And I don't even care. I'll happily go to bed at a ridiculously early hour, Kindle in hand, and read myself to sleep after a page or two.

Sometimes you just gotta take a Mental Health day. :-)

Saturday, April 23, 2011


After all the overtime I've worked in the past few weeks, I finally get two days off IN A ROW! Saturday and Sunday...I never dreamed that getting a weekend off would feel like such a treat!

So what am I going to do with this lovely "regular" weekend? Well, this morning I've done a few (very few, admittedly) household chores and have Netflixed a bit. As soon as I finish this post I'm going to knit for an hour or so, then go visit my parents for a bit. I've been so covered up at the office that I've not visited them in the past couple of weeks.

Tomorrow I'm going to catch up on some more of my housework, then settle happily into the recliner with coffee, remote, and knitting. *happy dance*

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Two Long, Ugly Weeks

The computer conversion at the office continues to dominate my little world. *phooey* I must confess that these 70+ hour weeks are wreaking havoc with my abilities to sleep, knit, and chase dust bunnies.

Today's my first day off since April 9th, and so far today I've done practically nothing. My plans for the afternoon are pretty much the same....practically nothing. I need to finish knitting one small birthday gift, but it will require very little time. Then I intend to curl up in the recliner with a cup of rich, hot coffee, some mindless knitting, and the remote control. If there's nothing good on TV and there's nothing I've TiVo'd that appeals, there's always Netflix to stream through the Wii. Not to mention the prospect of a cozy nap sometime this afternoon.

I'm worn out, friends....keep your fingers crossed that this total disruption in my life ends SOON!!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I *heart* Sundays

Good morning, fellow knitsters! I've been away a long time, and I apologize, but I honestly do have a pretty good reason. That computer conversion at the office that I mentioned back in February has caused a HUGE increase in my workload. In fact, today is my first day off in the past two weeks.

Needless to say, I've barely had the energy to feed myself, much less do my blogging. My knitting has suffered terribly, too. I've managed to finish a few dishcloths and Swiffer cloths for birthday gifts, but that's been about it. I hope to spend some quality relaxation time today with my recliner, a mug (or five) of coffee, my knitting, and Netflix.

I was on (with whom I have a nearly-first-name relationship) a few minutes ago ordering a gift for a friend and needed to add a bit to get free shipping. I popped onto my Wish List to see what might get me over the minimum and (even though it cost more than I needed for free shipping) ordered myself Mason-Dixon Knitting. It had been on my Wish List for nearly two years, and I've always heard wonderful things about it. So now I'm looking forward to receiving it; I've needed to treat myself to something for awhile, and this seems like a good choice.

Well, friends, if I'm going to spend some knitting time this afternoon, I guess I'd better get a few household chores out of the way. I hope you all have a glorious Sunday!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

When I Grow Up

I was just reading today's entry on the Yarn Harlot's blog, and in it she mentions that Sock Camp is open to the general population. Curious, I clicked the link to see what Sock Camp is.

I learned that Sock Camp is one of those things for which I'd love to have the time and money. It's four days of sock knitting fun, and oh boy, would I ever love to be there! Not only would I love to have the opportunity to learn more about sock knitting from real experts, but the camp is being held at a BEAUTIFUL resort in Port Ludlow, Washington.

Unfortunately, I just don't have the time or the money for such a trip. My job (which I must keep because I've come to enjoy having food, shelter, and sock yarn) is unbelievably busy right now. I have scads of leave available, but just can't get away for awhile. Phooey.

Oh well, maybe I can content myself with finishing up some socks I'd started back last fall and had to put aside to do my holiday knitting.

Gotta say, though, that the Yarn Harlot sure makes that sock camp look GOOD! When I grow up and retire, I want to spend all my time going to knitting camps that I don't have time for now!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Some Days It's Just Not Worth Chewing Through the Restraints

Have I mentioned that we're going through a computer system conversion at work? It's kind of taken over my life, to tell the truth. By the time I get home from work and do the few things I absolutely HAVE to do, I'm too exhausted to even pick up the "mindless knitting" I keep in a basket by the recliner. And I mean MINDLESS. Knit in your sleep kind of things. But I'm too tired to even pick up the needles, much less knit.

Here's an idea of how tired I've been: one night last week I fell asleep while eating dinner. HONESTLY!! Anyone who actually knows me knows how unlikely it is that I'd fall asleep during a meal! *LOL*

Today has been an unusually trying day, so while eating my sandwich for lunch, I decided that this will be the after-work plans today:
  1. Stop at Mickey D's for a salad.
  2. Go home.
  3. Call Mom.
  4. Take a long hot shower and put on flannel jammies.
  5. Eat salad while watching something mindless on TiVo. Maybe Gilmore Girls.
  6. Make a big mug o' tea.
  7. Log TiVo podcaster into KnitPicks podcasts I've not yet heard.
  8. Knit something mindless while catching up on podcasts.
  9. Repeat step 8 until dozing.
It's a gray, rainy day; I love rainy days. They pull the tension out of my body like a warm bath. So this should be a perfect evening for the "activities" I've planned for myself. I'm in definite need of some yarn therapy!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What The Heck Was WRONG With Me?

I haven't knit a stitch in nearly two weeks. Now THAT's unusual for me. Especially since the weather in my neck of the woods was cold, snowy and nasty all during the month. That's usually wonderful knitting time for me, but for some reason I just didn't feel the urge.

Today is different. The sun is shining through the windows, I have housework to catch up on, and my plan is to clean awhile, knit awhile, clean some more, knit some more. It doesn't even matter what I'm knitting. I just want to feel wool in my hands.

It's nice to feel normal again. Whatever "normal" is. *LOL*

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sick of Snow and Cold Weather in General!

Yes, I know, I'm the one who's normally really excited about getting a snow day and having more time to spend in the recliner knitting. But DANG, I'm getting tired of winter!! The hot water bottle cover I knitted last year has come in handy LOTS recently.

Okay, enough grousing, let's do a little catching up since it's been nearly a month since I've visited with you! First and most importantly, Mom's aneurysm repair on December 20 went beautifully! They kept her in ICU overnight as a precaution, but released her the next morning without even moving her to a regular room. We had her back home by 10:00 am, and according to her follow-up visit with her surgeon this past Wednesday she's doing just fine, thank goodness.

Our Christmas was quiet, but lovely. To keep Mom from trying to do too much, I stayed with her and Dad Christmas Eve so I'd be there early to try to keep her from doing much for Christmas dinner. She was still in the kitchen, but hopefully I took some of the work off her. It's tough to keep her still, THAT's for sure. :-)

All who received knitted gifts from me for Christmas seemed to really enjoy them. I love knitting for folks who appreciate it!

I knitted a lot while I was off work for the holidays, but a lot of it was dishcloths. I'd given a lot of them away as small gifts, so I wanted to start building up a little stockpile again. Also, they're good mindless knitting to do at the hospital and while talking to visitors.

I'd also purchased two skeins of lovely yarn on sale at my LYS some time ago, thinking they'd make a lovely Baby Surprise Jacket. I started that a week or so ago and it's going to be really nice. I'm going to take it along on a visit to Mom and Dad this afternoon (between winter weather systems...*SIGH*), so I plan to make some pretty good progress.

And so, my knitterly friends, I hope your holidays were filled with peace and love and that your new year is filled with health and prosperity!

I wish you the best from the frozen mid-Atlantic states!!