Category Archives: Panic Monster

Suffering from B.A.D.D.


Or Blogging Attention Deficit Disorder. 😉

It’s been almost three weeks since I posted last – this is pretty horrific but sometimes life just gets in the way of the fun stuff. My father-in-law was hospitalized with C-Diff (if you don’t know what this is, don’t Google it. If you do know what it is, feel sorry for him). Obviously having someone to care for with an intestinal problem made my Panic Monster go into overdrive, it’s the nature of the beast I suppose.

So for the past two weeks, between working and taking care of family I have been washing my hands – a lot. I have actually started wearing medical gloves with ointment in the to not only heal my hands but also to allow me to knit without getting blood on the yarn. They are doing much better now – so it’s time to get back to work!

The Incredibly Heartbreaking Story of How I Came By My First Skein of Malabrigo


Has there every been a time in your life that you really, truly wished there were hidden cameras recording the moment for posterity? Well on January 29th such a day happened to me at my new Local Yarn Store. I want to share with you the story as close to verbatim as I can, because the incredible oddness of it was blessedly unique.

~Setting the Stage~

I was sitting at a long table at the front of the shop. I had come in for a bar of Lo-lo to Go (which was 75% off) but remained lingering – throughly content to fondle the yarn and work on my pattern.

A woman comes in through the back entrance with a cake of (yummy) yarn in her hand. The weather is crummy, we are actually just a few hours from getting 10.5″ of more snow and she was obviously in a hurry. Here is the conversations that ensued. 

  • Woman: I would like to return this please. I don’t have the tags but I remember what it is and I should be in your system.
  • Clerk: I am so sorry but we cannot accept returns on yarn that has been caked.
  • Woman: ….
  • Clerk:  I wish that there was something I could do but there is no way to inventory it.
  • Woman: ….
  • Clerk: If you’d like I can suggest a pattern for you to…
  • Woman: I only buy one project worth of yarn at a time and I decided not to do a project with sock yarn. I am going to use worsted yarn, so I cannot use this.
  • Clerk: (makes desperate eye contact with yours truly) I am sure that we can modify the pattern you are doing so you can use sock yarn. Let me have a look, Rachel – what do you think.
  • Me: I love modifying things!

I walk over to the checkout counter and the strap on my purse breaks, spilling the contents of my purse all over the floor. I laugh but the woman is looking at me strangely, strangely enough that it actually makes  me nervous. The clerk is pulling up the pattern on Ravelry when the woman turns her full attention to me….

  • Woman: What’s your name?
  • Me: Rachel, what’s yo….(cut off)
  • Woman: Do you have a stash?
  • Me: Um, yes I d…(cut off)
  • Woman: Do you knit with sock yarn?
  • Me: Yes. (I have temporarily given up on more than one word answers)
  • Woman: Do you like this yarn?
  • Me: Yes, it’s lovel….(cut off)
  • Woman: Do you have a project that could use this yarn to the best of it’s abilities?
  • Me: Um…
  • Woman: A pattern. Do you have one planned?
  • Me: Yes.
  • Woman: What is it?
  • Me: The Hogwarts Express Shawl
  • Woman: And who is it by?
  • Me: Susan Ashcroft.
  • Woman: When did you buy the pattern?
  • Me: I didn’t. It was a gift for my birthday from a very dear f….(cut off).
  • Woman: When was your birthday?
  • Me: December 27th…? (at this point I wasn’t sure)
  • Woman: Let me see your queue.

At this point the store clerk is staring at me with open mouth amazement. She hands me her iPad and I pull up my queue. There was the message from my gifter and the pattern.

  • Woman: Here you are. (She’s handing me the freaking cake)
  • Me: I cannot just take this, at least let me buy your worsted yarn (I didn’t have the money for this, but I was flummoxed and I did owe her one).
  • Woman: Do I look poor to you?
  • Me: Uhhh…No. (she didn’t – but then neither do I)
  • Woman: I can afford my own yarn thank you. Here are the specifications on the yarn (she pulls a scrap of paper out of her purse). Just do me a favor.
  • Me: Uhh….anything!
  • Woman: Let this be your next finished project. Go home and cast it on, and use it. I hate languishing yarn.
  • Me: Okay…

At this point she turns back to the befuddled store clerk and lists, which such precise clarity the yarn brand/weight/name/quantity that she needs. The clerk all but runs away to go get the items the woman asked for, leaving me alone with the woman. I was planning on thanking her again and giving her my Ravelry name so she could see the FO when she said….

  • Woman: My daughter was on Xanax.

I am confused, then I realize that when my purse spilled open my own anti-anxiety medication bottle fell out of my purse – she must have seen it.

  • Woman: She committed suicide several years ago when she quit taking her medicine. She lost her job and lost interest in everything she did – I didn’t notice.
  • Me: I am so sorry….
  • Woman: Can you do me one more favor?
  • Me: Anything.
  • Woman: Tell the people you love to pay attention if you cannot list, on the spot, something you are passionate about. To pay attention if you quit doing something you so obviously love. Tell them to pay attention.
  • Me: I promise.

Friends and neighbors, thank you for letting me share this story.

Sarah & My Love of Socks


It is pretty amazing that I finished my first pair of socks in October of last year. Now, working on my seventh pair, I am a true sock knitting convert. This is my newest addition to my ever-growing sock drawer – and maybe my favorite.

Rusty Stripes Socks by Patons Kroy Socks

Rusty Stripes Socks by Patons Kroy Socks

There is something so utterly enjoyable about knitting a sock – since my first pair was officially finished I have never even remotely suffered from the dreaded “second sock syndrome”. There is this zen like state that is achieved by knitting socks, especially socks with stripes

When I am knitting a pair of socks with stripes I will often be heard muttering “just one more color!” and watching it grow is just mesmerizing in the best way possible. Knitting Sarah’s Socks with Sarah KAL (#sockswithsarah) has given me the perfect opportunity to indulge in selfishly knitting for myself and my loved ones. My Dad received his first pair and the hubby is already hinting – quite loudly – that he would love some socks. Before I move on, let’s enjoy a montage of sock-y goodness, just for giggles. 😉

Yea socks!!

Moving on. I have mainly been modifying the Knitmore Girls Vanilla Sock Pattern for my own socks. Before Sarah came along, Operation Sock Drawer had me yearning to fill up my dresser with handmade socks. Other patterns I’ve tried were the Patons Simple Socks and the Men’s Basic Sock Pattern for my Dad.

Also, I’ve only used Patons Kroy Sock Yarn or Lions Brand Sock-Ease yarn so far. I really like the Patons yarn, but the Lions Brand just hasn’t grown on me. It’s gonna have to though, because after the pair of socks I casted on yesterday I am out of sock yarn except for two balls of the Sock-Ease. This isn’t really that scary, I don’t need to buy Malabrigo sock yarn and there is still Premier Sock Yarn (at a whopping $2.99 a ball) to try. I will keep my eyes out for sock yarn sales as well.

I am, at least as of right now, firm on my decision not to integrate patterns into my socks for two primary reasons: 1. I don’t have a cable needle that I can wield on sock yarn and 2. I like the brainless knitting. Socks are meditative, I think I might have mentioned that, but it is also fabulous for my hand. So what are my plans to not bore Sarah to death?

  1. Afterthought Heel.
  2. Fish Lip Heel
  3. Toe Up Socks
  4. Houdini Socks
  5. Spiceman Socks
  6. Two at a time socks

So there’s my plan friends and neighbors – now back to knitting!

A Little Sparkle to Kick Off December


Oh, it is good to have Dragon Speak back again! The plan is to try to write shorter posts – so as not to bore you into a coma – but the actual process of getting that post finished is back to being utterly fantastic!

So I am working through a rather large back catalog of things I was knitting before I almost blog faded, here’s to hoping I don’t repeat myself. The rather large production in knitting is in direct proportion to the change in weather – and the return of illness to the Buckeye State. My OCD and emetophobia  tend to top the charts from the end of October till May, which sucks on a whole lotta levels. I sleep less, consume copious amounts of anything with vitamin C in it and look forward to warmer weather – which is insane because truly, I love cold weather.

The only bonus to my emetophobia, and my Panic Monster, being far more active than normal is that I tend to get a lot more accomplished – like knitting! See? this is me looking at a silver lining.

 – It Sparkles and Shines –

My very loving mother found almost 20 balls of Red Heart Boutique Midnight at a smaller craft store where my grandmother lives a few months ago, and it being such a good deal she bought every last ball of it. This particular shade is called Shadow (how fetching!) and is a mix of pinks and grey’s, and to be honest it’s actually quite pretty. Now, Red Heart is not my favorite thing in the world to work with but this yarn doesn’t have the oggey feel to it that Red Heart Super Savor has, my goodness it even has a little wool in it!

Being presented with 20 balls (teehee) is intimidating, so I’ve slowly been working my way through the collection. With the Shadow I made two projects: 1. My very simple no-look cowl and 2. The Amanda Hat by Gina House with as many improvisations as I could dream up to make it my own. Let’s start with the cowl….

The cowl is a super quick, super simple rib/stockinette/rib combination, best of all I don’t have to look when I am knitting the stockinette section!

Now for the hat – the original pattern is The Amanda Hat by Gina House on Ravelry, but I had to try to make it a little more my own. I used Cast On, Bind Off to give me a little inspiration on how to get started, I only did one pattern repeat to simplify the top of the hat, then used a fantastic new decrease that I’ve been toying with. All in all, I am pretty satisfied with the outcome.

Why are collage photos so much fun? It's a mystery!

Why are collage photos so much fun? It’s a mystery!

That’s it for me today friends and neighbors! Just in case you would like to share, what are you doing this blustery December to add a little shine to your life?

My First Real Big, Bad Frogging Experience


If you’ve perused this blog lately, this photo may look familiar to you. . . .

20131004-052842.jpgNice huh? Well, not anymore!

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The brioche stitch is something I have never done before, so of course I thought I would try it for the custom order. I am looking at this particular order as a great learning experience, so why not try something new…and throw in a cable…and use two strands of yarn…

This is not easy, I am not sure why but it just isn’t. The pattern base is set up knitting the first and last stitch and in-between knitting (sl1, yo, k2tog). This shouldn’t be difficult, but for some reason I was dropping stitches left and right and then left again. I threw in a lifeline and thought “Hey! We’re in business!”

I had almost five feet (yes – 5 feet…:() when my lifeline broke while I was working a cable. I spent about…oh, I dunno, 2 hours wrestling with trying to get it back on the needles. I loved the look, I loved feel and I didn’t want to let it go. It was the moment I accepted defeat that I pulled out my niddy-noddy and used it for something that just shattered my knitting soul.

10092860745_fc80d50bcfAnd so I frogged two days and five feet of work. I didn’t shed a tear – but I cursed like a drunk sailer on leave discovering they’ve landed in a place with no women. I am re-knitting the yarn in a straight brioche to get the rhythm of it, then I am going back to this pattern and I am going to knit the (censored) out of it!

I do want to share, in my defense, the factors that may have contributed to the utter failure of this scarf:

  1. I was using two strands held together for thickness.
  2. The two strands are acrylic (as asked for by the customer – sever allergies).
  3. My cable needle was too small to hold all those stitches.
  4. I was using plastic needles, so everything was slippery – and NOT in a good way.
  5. I used a frayed piece of leftover yarn as my lifeline.
  6. I bit off more than I could chew.

So I’ve learned my lesson friends and neighbors, don’t knit off more than you can chew. Ambition and learning is great don’t get me wrong, but some times you have to start at the very beginning to get a handle on it. Has this every happened to you? Have you tried to skip the necessary learning steps and made a massive mistake? Or on the way more optimistic hand did it work for you?

Cannot wait to hear from you, and thanks for reading – it still blows my mind that you do! 🙂

Worst. Idea. Ever.


I am going to try to keep this as quick as I can, if only to shorten my humiliation at retelling this story. I want to say first and foremost that yes, I’ve learned my lesson. So….here it goes.

Stitches_Pic1LOGO_KasMelloI have been making baby blankets for Stitches From The Heart ever since I learned how to knit the garter stitch. I have a very special place in my heart for this organization which supplies an assortment of baby items for preemies. Closer still is the bereavement sized items that are always needed and this is the size I spend most of my time knitting. I suppose they need more of these made because it is just a bit too depressing to knit something for a baby that will never take a breath, but I know first hand just how important it is to the grieving process and how much it means to the families.

The bereavement blankets are usually far more interesting pattern wise, I spend more time on them and try to make patterns that I feel are peaceful. Anyway – I try to send in two blankets a month (preemie and bereavement sized). Since my Etsy Store actually started bring in orders though I have been having some trouble keeping up with the preemie blankets. Oh hell, I haven’t made one preemie blanket in almost four months.

Then I thought I had a great idea…knitting machine! (SPOILER ALERT: Not a great idea)

NOT So Ultimate After All.

NOT So Ultimate After All.

My idea was that I would use the machine to run off flat, stockinette panels. Then I could embroider and edge the blankets by hand. I had all these wonderful notions of sending this charity tons of blankets. I would be busting my stash, be able to spend more time on the special touches and quit feeling to guilty about not sending in both blankets.

I went to Jo Anne’s with my 50% off coupon and bought the Ultimate Sweater Machine. Yes, I felt guilty about sending in only half handmade items, but I reasoned it was better than nothing at all. Oh the things we tell ourselves.

Gloria and I picked it up, brought it home, set it up and ….huzzah!…it didn’t work. Not even a little. This loud, piece of crap could never even knit a row. It jammed, it got stuck, it screeched, it howled, it begged for mercy. Between the three of us (Trevor, Gloria and myself) we tried everything we could think of for two days before I put it back in the box to return it. I HATE this stupid machine – if it wasn’t for the money I would set it on fire in my back yard.

I’ve learned my lesson – there are no shortcuts in life. I actually feel pretty guilty about trying it now, as if the protesting machine was trying to tell me that I was in fact cheating. So now I am going to try to schedule a time of day when I work on my blankets. If something is important you take the time to do it, and you take the time to do it right. There, now you know my incredibly embarrassing story. I would rather have been caught having sex in front of my neighbors that admit to trying to cut corners.

What about you friends and neighbors, have you ever tried to cut corner’s with good intentions? Or even better, how do you whip up a cute baby blanket and still keep up with all your other obligations?

My Mind is Officially Blown :)


Something really amazing popped up in my WordPress notifications, even if it is a week or two old I wanted to share!

Are You Sure About This?

Are You Sure About This?

I cannot believe that this is right. I mean, really? Since March 13th my little hope of having a knitting blog has come to alive. I am totally awed and so freaking humbled it is scary! Who are you, my dear friends and neighbors, who find me even slightly interesting? I spend my time devouring your words, your photos, the little bit of your life that you wish to share. Now, it seems, that you are kind enough to afford me the curtsey of doing the same.

I hope this isn’t annoying or showy, but I wanted to share all the stats with you. It seems that since I quit staring at them daily that they’ve changed a bit.

  • Total Followers on WordPress: 525
  • Most Visitors in One Day: 344
  • Total Visitors: 13,519
  • Total Comments: 2,730
  • Total Posts: 120
  • Total Tags: 964
  • **** **** **** ****
  • Total Instagram Followers: 359
  • Total Facebook Page Followers: 68
  • Total Twitter Followers: 37
  • Total Tumbler Followers: 45

I wish that I was in a place financially to give something away, something as awesome as I feel right now! There will be a time, sooner than later I hope, that I can share my appreciation with everyone that puts up with this little blog. It’s strange though, even if no one read this I have learned so much from you in the past six months – more than I can ever express my gratitude for.

So thank you friends and neighbors, you have made my week!

♥ 100th Post GIVEAWAY! ♥


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When I started this blog I wondered if I would last a week, now here I am several months later getting to share my 100th post! I am going to say thank you a million times over at the bottom of the post, but let’s get to the good stuff shall we? Time for the GIVEAWAY!

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giveaway_rules-1024x373

The rules for this giveaway are pretty simple actually, as much as I would like to use this post to up my numbers, I decided to go a little bit of a different way. So, here we go:

  1. First of all, list YOUR passion (knitting, crocheting, writing, art, etc.).
  2. List YOUR Etsy Page -or- small business website (if applicable).
  3. List YOUR FAVORITE Etsy Store Page -or- any small business site (a link is preferable, but I can look it up).
  4. Tell me a bit about WHY you love this store.

That’s it friends and neighbors, easy as pie. I want to be able with my 100th post to highlight all the talent out there in the our community. I want to shed some light on all the small businesses out there that are just trying to make a go at something they love.

The drawing will be up for one week (thus ending next Wednesday the 21st) and on Thursday I am going to announce the winner AND an entire post with links to your stores and your favorite stores. If it kills me I am going to promote all the hard-working folks out there just trying to make a name for themselves.

And for all your hard work?

surprise-box

** A MYSTERY GOODIE BOX FULL OF THINGS SUITED TO YOUR CRAFT/PASSION**

Within my budget of course, but you would be amazed with what I can do on a shoestring budget. The winner’s tastes and treats will be centered around the information you provide me – you won’t be disappointed!!

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I guess I am not totally beyond shameless self-promotion, but I want to reiterate that doing the following WILL HAVE NO IMPACT ON THE OUTCOME OF THE DRAWING – THIS IS JUST OUT OF YOUR KINDNESS AND YOUR INTEREST IN….WELL…ME.

  • Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AllNightKnits – All Night Knits
  • Follow me on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/AllNightKnits – All Night Knits
  • Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachelFolk4 – @RachelFolk4
  • Follow me on Instagram: http://instagram.com/allnightknitter – allnightknitter
  • Follow me on WordPress: Below ↓↓

I know somewhere in my mind that I will never get the following I would get if this is mandatory, but I just to want to roll like that. I hope that I have proven myself worthy of your following – that is the best thing I can hope for! 🙂

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When I started this blog I was floundering. Trevor and I faced the tremendous weight that I may never be able to carry a child and the thoughts were all consuming. We both have parents that are ill (my Mom with COPD, Trevor’s Dad with alzheimer’s and Trevor’s Mom with Diabetes) and the weight and worry that we 1) couldn’t fix it and 2) couldn’t make them grandparents was crushing me alive. It was hard to even take a breath; all my close friends are pregnant or new parents and I had never felt so alone in the world.

Then came this blog, this blessing. I know it sounds like I am laying it on pretty damn thick, but I wonder if I’m doing it any justice. With you I have shared my family’s history, some of you know who my GG is just by name and through you she still lives on. I have shared hilarity (my neighbors bumping uglies) my fears (my Panic Monster) and my simple joy of knitting.

Every day I am inspired by all of you, your posts have pushed me to try new things, learn new things and I have become very close to some of you – as close as the internet will allow. I guess you can say that you, my very own version of the constant reader, reminded me how to breath again.

So thank you, thank you so much.

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One more quick thing. If you feel like this blog is serving a bigger purpose than just a giveaway then please re-blog this post. The more people who see it and respond to it means the more small businesses that will be highlighted. I am just one little person who really wants to make a difference – if you can, please help!

The Great Ruffle Scarf Conundrum


If you remember from last Friday, I had decided to cast of (haha) the idea of making ruffle scarfs in an attempt to make money just for the sake of making it. I thought filling my Etsy store wall to wall with ruffle scarves might bring me a profit – but I was missing “real” knitting. So after a very rejuvenating weekend of knitting whatever I wanted – including another ruffle scarf for my grandmother, go figure – I was feeling like myself again.

Till Monday came around….

Monday morning I received a very excited phone call from my grandmother, she loved the scarf. Fantastic! I love giving presents that someone is going to use and love. Good times. She quickly handed the phone to my Mom, who was there visiting, and my Mom asked how much I would charge per scarf if she bought the yarn. I named a fair price and figured I was in for making two or three more scarves.

Holy crap Batman….I was wrong.

28 Skeins of Ruffle Yarn.

28 Skeins of Ruffle Yarn.

There are 28 (TWENTY-EIGHT) skeins of ruffle yarn in the bin that showed up this morning, along with my very enthusiastic mother. I am going to take this as a good thing – if I don’t I will be contemplating how to stab the yarn to death with my knitting needles. So here is a rundown of what I’ve learned about ruffle yarn so far.

  • Patons Pirouette – This is my favorite. It is the easiest to work with and knits up the fastest. I also like the different types of layering (sequins, metallic floss, even roving yarn) that creates a great deal of depth.
  • Premier Yarns Starbella – This is my second pick for ruffle yarn. It takes a bit longer with a little less effect and the yarn twists a great deal. I think I spend more time untwisting than I do knitting.
  • Red Heart Boutique Sashay – Is my new least favorite yarn to work with in the world. It has a weird, super synthetic silky feel – but not in a good way. The yarn wants to splinter so badly that you really have to take your time. It twists far worse than the Starbella and the scarf, following the instructions, is too long. Frankly – it is like knitting with fish net stalkings that had a long night on a very busy hooker. I hope I have made my point.

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With that said I would never turn down the opportunity to bring some money into the house, even a little goes a long way with two people who know how to budget. So I am on a ruffle pilgrimage and so far have made four scarves in two and a half days. Wanna see some photos?

** Patons Pirouette **

** Premier Yarns Starbella **

** The Evil Red Heart Boutique Sashay **

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So there you have it, four down and twenty-four more to go. I have a horrible feeling that there will be more ruffle yarn in my future but for now I am going to take it in stride. I am timing myself so that I don’t work with this yarn for more than 75 minutes a day, this seems like a good amount of time and I can still work on my other knitting and spinning endeavors.

So, friends and neighbors, what gets you through a project that makes you want to pull your hair out?

 

Can Trying to Sell on Etsy Deminish the Love of Your Craft?


In my ever so humble opinion, the answer is overwhelmingly yes. At least at the moment.

I don’t think I am alone when I say that I check daily (okay, multiple time a day) the stats on my Etsy store, my Facebook Page and even the stats on my blog. Every day though, I am left wanting. Still no sales, still not enough followers – thus not enough people seeing my work – and as for the blog, that’s a whole other thing.

My blog, my happy place, is doing very well. I wouldn’t dream of changing my community here on WordPress – I don’t long (that much ;)) for numbers in the thousands. However, I received an email from a fellow blogger that suggested, in lieu of my 100th post (which will be here soon) to try to use it to get more people to follow me.

Your 100th post is a great time for a giveaway, and giveaways mean exposure! Make them work for it – make them follow you on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Etsy, whatever. Make them be exposed to your stuff day in and day out- maybe then you’ll make some money! Good luck with that – just make sure what you are giving away doesn’t suck!

Wow. I know that the email was well intended but….wow. I have been happy just letting it smooth it’s way all by itself, the whole “build it and they will come” theory. Apparently, that is not how this works. More apparent is the fact that I don’t really like it.

I also don’t like knitting the things I have been knitting. In the hopes of making some money or getting more attention for my pages I have been working on things that are not on my priority list. I want to finish my shawl, I want my sock to find it’s sole mate ;). I want to try double knitting, learn to crochet, play with new knitting books and practice my spinning. Is there a way to do both? I see that there are some knitting stores that do very well and some that are just like mine, something akin to a frozen tundra. What is bothering me at the moment is the overwhelming feeling of failure – something my Panic Monster thrives on.

So what is a gal to do? Do I put aside the projects that I think will sell to focus on things that bring me happiness? Do I shut up and do what I need to do because it has been over two months that Trevor has been employed? Do I crawl into the fetal position and start eating my own hair? What? Seriously…what?

There has to be some happy medium, some place where I can remember how much I love knitting and still make things that people may want to purchase. I guess I am just still really new to this, usually when I knit it’s because a) the pattern demands it b) it would be perfect for…(fill in the blank) or c) this would be teaching me something new.

So maybe I will take the weekend and try to remember why I love knitting so much – do an internet blackout, or at least stay away from anything that is going to make me feel like such a damn failure.

So, friends and neighbors, what is a girl to do? ANY HELP WOULD BE MONUMENTALLY APPRECIATED!!

The Flood


Before I begin the retelling of this story I want to get you in my mindset – why this was so frightening. Trevor. Cannot. Swim.

Something Mild

Something Mild

The vacation was a surprise gift from my mother and father in law, something neither one of us saw coming. After seeing how difficult this year has been for us they wanted to give us the vacation we crave, and what we craved more than anything was the cabin in the woods. This was where my family always escaped to in the summer, the place where Trevor and I went on our honeymoon. This was our happy place.

Luckily, before the sky opened up I remembered to take some photos.

As you can see the cabin we stayed in was built up on the hill, away from the lake. We never thought in our right minds that this was going to be a saving grace.

The first day it rained, but only slightly. It was more like a humid blanked had been draped over us, we couldn’t have cared less. It was our place, and it was our time to be away from phones, computers, work, money and every other care in the world. We listened to music, we danced (I know, so darn sweet it makes my teeth hurt), we cooked, we read, we walked….we did all the things we always did when we came here. This was Friday. By Saturday, things started to change.

By the time we lost power on Saturday we had 5 inches of rain and the lake, a runoff from the river, had risen to engulf what was left of the land between cabins. Our cabin was the highest of them all, and thus suffered the least amount of damage (and no damage to the car). We though this was going to be a great story! We played Scrabble, took a nap and went about preparing to read for 24 hours straight – heaven in our books.

But it just kept raining.

We kept reading, eating fresh fruit and drinking copious amounts of coffee, and we listened to it rain. We came to the decision very early in the morning that it was time to get out.  Well, that just wasn’t going to happen.

road-river

At this point, the Evil Dead was playing over and over in my mind. Trapped in a cabin, no phone and no way to contact our family. We were trapped here – and my husband cannot swim. I will be the first to admit that after I took the photo my Panic Monster reared its ugly head and I had a full-fledged meltdown on the road. Trevor was calming, comforting, and more than anything he was reasonable. We would go back to the cabin and read, waiting for the storm to stop. Ash Caves floods all the time, and the flash floods dissipate in hours due to the great civic engineers that plan for this.

So back to the cabin. The rain never relented its beating on the roof and slowly the pages of our books begin to wilt with moisture. Between the two of us though (I figured I should add this) we finished:

By noon, the poor couple across the lake tried to make a run for it. Their car seemed to disappear into the mud and the water rose very, very quickly. The clawed (yes, they clawed) their way out of the car and back to the cabin. This is when the network of people trapped in the valley went to their canoes and began helping one another. I wish I had taken pictures of this, but truth be told I was so scared of having Trevor in that water that I forgot to breath. With my foot he was adamant I stay inside, so me and my panic attack medication became old friends again.

We traded food, books, movies (some had portable DVD players and laptops that still had batteries) and board games. It wasn’t long after this that the man who owns the property showed up in his boat, ready to get us to the pay phone to call whoever we needed. Trevor took this picture when he made it up and called our parents and my brother respectively.

View from the Phone.

View from the Phone.

As you can see the rain had finally stopped, but the damage was done – we weren’t going anywhere. The gentleman told all of us not to fret – I am going to quote verbatim here:

“Of course I’m not going to charge you! Trying to leave here is as useless as tits on a nun!”.

So we ate marshmallows, read, played massive amounts of Scrabble and waited for either the cabin to go into the water or the water to recede. Finally, the next day the water seemed to be going down at a comical rate, like a giant stuck a straw in the lake and was taking monster gulps. The irrigation systems were back on track, we still had no power but who could care about that! I should thank my Dad for instilling in me the need to 1) Over-pack both clothes and food and 2) have a small, odd fetish for flashlights/lanterns/candles and everything else you could need to see in the dark.

We called home again, this time able to walk more than we paddled and for the first time in days I took a big deep breath. This was still our happy place – some stupid flash flood wasn’t going to take that away from us. When we were finally able to maneuver the car out we thought we were footloose and fancy free.

Ha!

The funniest (or saddest, I am choosing funniest) is that when we hit a hole backing out the trunk popped open and the bag with my knitting and our books when right into the water. I got out of the car and just hollered and laughed, go figure huh? We waded in thigh high water to retrieve what we could (we lost two books and two and a half knitting projects) but who cared? We laughed the whole way home.

Looking back it is already taking on the quality of a good story, a damned good story in my opinion. If all works out, this is what my NANOWriMo novel is going to be this year, there are too many “what if’s?” to ignore the possibility of a great story. As for Trevor and I, we are glad o be home, clean, feed and curled up with Max who refuses to leave our side. All in all, I have to say it was a truly epic anniversary!

 

The Car Accident


When it rains it pours. Was in an accident today driving to my parents to drop off invitations. No one was hurt, thank God, but there’s a lot of damage to our one and only car.

Even though the accident wasn’t my fault – the other driver was pulling out into a very busy road without looking – I am just at my wits end. To add insult to injury I fell down a hill looking at the damage to the car, re-injuring my already badly abused foot.

Yup friends and neighbors, I am about to just give up. Silly self pity I know but…damn! No more please!

Just a Quick One So You Know I am Not Dead


Still alive here in the Buckeye state, so no worries there. The foot is still attached so I am considering that one for the win category. It has been bundled in this contraption until we see if we can afford health insurance.

Boot for the Klutzy.

Boot for the Klutzy.

My biggest concern is that I broke the same bone I have already broken in this foot. I talked the doctor out of surgery (screws, rods…eww) because my hand was broken at the time as well. If this is the case, then I may be majorly screwed. Or….it could just be a really bad sprain that will heal on its own. I am hoping for the latter.

It has  been made more difficult because I cannot use crutches for long periods of time due to my hand, so I have been taking the pain medication for my hand (and well, I guess my foot now too), which is something I tend to avoid. I hate pain medication, it makes me fuzzy and goofy.

Because of this I haven’t really been doing my knitting for fear of making a mistake. Instead I have been working on my parents anniversary party – invitations, knitted stems and pom-pom flowers (those are very difficult to mess up) and a photo album of their 30 years together. More on that later.

dark-placesI finished Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places, which was amazing right till the end – where for me it faltered. She had something that was really evolving into something amazing, but I felt like there was a short cut taken – like it was planned all the time but the planning was unneccessary.

I still really enjoyed it and it has been nice to relax with a good book. It was on my read-a-thon list but I have so much I want to read that updating shouldn’t be an issue.

 

 

 

I will be back tomorrow friends and neighbors with this week’s stitch pattern, no worries! Thank you all for your kind words and support – I will be back in the saddle in no time at all. Till then, try not to fall. 😉

Stitch Week 13 & The Infamous Manly Man Beanie


Alright, let’s jump right on in and get to the good stuff!

♥ Stitch Pattern Week 13 – The Triangle Stitch ♥

Dark Orange

Dark Orange

As you can see, I got a little over ambitious with the whole photo editing aspect of this pattern. Even though I knitted it with the orange yarn you see above, I was still a bit desperate for contrast – something that would make the pattern pop out at you. I hope I did it, but if not…well…playing with photos is always fun!

I did the above pattern with Sugar and Cream yarn and size 6 needles, and I will be the first to admit that I am a little in love with it. It is so simple, just knitting and purling and you get this fun pattern that just comes out of nowhere. The pattern however – well – GG had it in for me this week. After last week’s breeze of a pattern the last thing I should do is complain, but boy howdy she made me work for it.

≈ The GG Pattern and The Actual Readable Pattern  

  • k5p5 – Row 1: K5, P5 (Excellent way to start off friends and neighbors!)
  • k4p1k1p4 – Row 2: K4, P1, K1, P4 ( My oh my, am I flushed and heady with happiness…YES!)
  • k3p2k2p3 – Row 3: K3, P2, K2, P2 ( I am swooning, yup – a totally readable pattern!)
  • k2p3k3p2 – Row 4: K2, P3, K3, P2 ( …*this is where I stopped and did a happy dance*…)
  • k1p4k4p1 – Row 5: K1, P4, K4, P1 (Two weeks in a row, things are looking so delecitably simple… I should have figured out that after there was a scribble of a phone number and cost for diabetes medication that things were about to take a turn for the confusing).

Okay, so here is where it gets real weird…just a warning.

  • wrong1 – Row 6: P5, K5 (Okay, not to shabby. Not “wrong” exactly, just the opposite. I will not be deterred).
  • from out work backwards (From here I was on my own. Working backwards makes sense – you are creating triangles that are going in opposite directions, that much I figured out from row 6. I still wonder why she stopped though…odd).
  • Row 7: K1, P4, K4, P1
  • Row 8: K2, P3,K3, P2
  • Marcy should’ve used common sense, I mean how stupid does a woman need to be for me to have to rewrite a pattern, she’s been knitting since God was a baby. Row 9: K3, P2, K2, P3 (The rant was written where row 9 would have been and I wanted to share. As it turns out, Mary and I have something in common…my GG’s patterns are not always the easiest to read!)
  • Row 10: K4, P1, K1, P4

Below this pattern was a note that, luckily, Marcy never received (this is also copied exactly, so please excuse spelling errors):

Dear Marcy,

I have gone through and see nothin wrong with my pattern. A woman as old as you should have the wits in her brain to figure out how to knit, you’ve been doin it longer than I have. If you really need it writen step by step go buy a book cause I’ve another great grand on the way and your wastin my time.

Jessie Sovine

Gesh GG, reign in that temper old girl. 🙂

♥ The Manly Man Hat That Turned Out Better Than Okay! ♥

A Beanie for a Manly Man.

A Beanie for a Manly Man.

So this picture is a little sharp, but the point was to show that there is no decipherable difference from the size 3 needles to the size 4. Success! So for all of you that were so comforting and helpful during my crazy tirade, I want to thank you. The knitting/bloggine community has once again shown its kindness in all it’s splendiferous glory!

The beanie was a blast to knit up by they way, I cannot get enough of cable work. Even when the cables are hard on my hand, that instant twist in my knitting makes me near giddy, and this baby had 2 sets of cables so it was my lucky day. The yarn is from my stash – which is currently getting busted – and very easy to work with. If I hadn’t broken the needles yesterday it would have taken no time at all to finish, as it was I had to worry about twisted stitches and changes in gauge. The last repeat round and all the finishing was done at a snail’s pace to prevent another mishap, and thus another total nervous breakdown.

The Panic Monster has been defeat and my house is spotless! The hat is all done and currently drying on my mat. The best part of this project? T let me take a picture of him in the hat!

My Manly Man in a Manly Beanie.

My Manly Man in a Manly Beanie.

This is a good start to my Friday and tomorrow…OH TOMORROW…there are so many wonderful pictures that I want to share from our recent nature hike. I dare say that I am pleased with every single one of them, even before editing!

So I will end this long post in preparation of another long post tomorrow, just with far fewer words. I will leave this with you as I end this post: So, friends and neighbors, what has been the most disastrous thing to happen to you mid-project? It doesn’t need to just be knitting either, and my ears are wide open.

HAPPY FRIDAY Y’ALL!!!!

I Never Do Two Posts In One Day But….


….Since I pulled my head out of my bum and the hat is turning out really well, I thought I should share! Thanks to all of you who have been so kind, so understanding, so helpful and helped me get through my – rather annoying now that I’ve reread it – rant.

Say It Loud and Proud Grumpy Cat!!

Say It Loud and Proud Grumpy Cat!!

 

Knitting Emergency and Attack of the Panic Monster!


Beware friends and neighbors, there is about the be a full on attack from the Panic Monster….

This is Why You Don't Buy Cheap Needles

This is Why You Don’t Buy Cheap Needles

Now, I know this may have happened to many of you out there, but this has never happened to me. I am sitting, drinking my coffee and working a round of particularly demanding cables when BOOM! there goes my needle off the cord. Stitches are flying, cables are unraveling and my mind has just jumped into OCD Panic Monster mode.

Serves you right for buying cheap needles Rachel. This wouldn’t have happened with nicer needles. How are you planning on fixing your epic failure here? Hmm…you probably don’t know how to. Best to just frog the whole hat and start over, you’ll never figure it out.

– Panic Monster

So, sitting here I am faced with a dilemma, do I try to figure out how to get the stitches back on the needled or do I frog? Well, first I needed to pace the house a bit to calm down…then do the dishes…then clean the bath tub… After doing so I managed to save all the stitches in the goofiest fashion ever.

Needles and Cords Held Together...sans Harmony.

Needles and Cords Held Together…sans Harmony.

After saving the stitches and ensuring they were back on the needles/cord correctly I felt pretty good about myself.

Then came my next problem.

The needles I was using were a size 3, and I don’t have another pair of size 3 needles. Usually the idea – even in this situation – of going out to buy new needles would have been delightful, but there has been a stop put on:

  • Buying new yarn.
  • Buying new tools.
  • Buying new books.
  • Buying anything that isn’t absolutely necessary!

So…cannot afford to buy new needles, big deal right? Well, yes. It is a big deal. It makes me feel so small knowing that I cannot afford to buy something so simple as a new pair of needles to fix my project. I was so enjoying doing this hat and now the only way to finish it is to put it on a pair of size 4 needles and pray that you cannot tell the difference in the gauge. I am crestfallen, 28 years old and I cannot afford to buy a new pair of needles.

Back on the Needles. Just on the Wrong Size.

Back on the Needles. Just on the Wrong Size.

I keep reminding myself that this is bullshit (pardon my language), and temporary. I don’t have cancer, no one has died, and money isn’t everything. I’ve never even really considered it a big thing – but then we’ve always both had jobs. I just wish the store would sell something or I could get a part-time job where I could bring in some extra money. I feel like I am letting my husband down, and it is a wicked bad feeling. I just never expected to be financially responsible for so many people (my niece (kinda), my mother and father in law, my husband and myself…and Max).

GET A GRIP RACHEL!

Okay…I’m back. So the hat is on bigger needles, the world will continue to turn and I am strung so tightly that gauge shouldn’t be an issue ;). So, I will hopefully finish this hat today so I can post about it tomorrow with the new stitch pattern. Until then, please enjoy the newest bird that has come to visit our feeder.

Footloose and Fancy Free Bird. Lucky Bastard! (Again, sorry about the language).

Footloose and Fancy Free Bird. Lucky Bastard! (Again, sorry about the language).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing Catch Up – The Liebster Award & Photography!


Okay. To start off after days of radio silence I would like to answer the The Liebster Award questions so kindly given to me by knitrun4sanity – Seriously, check out this blog. I have already been nominated for this award, so I won’t hassle all you lovely readers with more questions, but since I was nominated (and she worked so hard on the personal questions) I feel it only right to answer them

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award

1. What is your all time favourite craft? – The obvious answer would be knitting, but my favorite “craft” is actually writing music. I fell in love with it in High School and still to it to this day.

2. Where is the strangest place you have ever crafted? – The strangest place I have ever knitted it (gulp) the morgue. When I worked in the hospital I was working on a little tomato to give to my Mom as a pin cushion. I stuck it in my scrubs when we took the expired patient to the morgue, not realizing that we had forgotten to toe-tag him. My partner went upstairs and I (in accordance to Ohio State Law) remained with the body). So, naturally, I picked up my double-pointed needles, kept my yarn in my scrubs and proceeded to knit. It got quite a laugh.

3. What is your favourite craft time snack? – I am so anal about not getting anything on my knitting that I never eat around it. I do, however, take that time to indulge in ridiculously lavish cups of coffee. Creamer or syrup, whip cream, caramel, milk…mmm. Usually I drink it black so it’s like dessert!

4. Do you prefer the radio, tv, music or other when crafting? (If other then please inform!)- I definitely like listening to music when I knit. Recently though, I have been listening to quiet a few audiobooks and also podcasts. Variety is the spice of life!

5. What is your proudest achievement?- That I am able to write again after my hand injury.

6. What is your biggest crafting ‘dream’?- I guess like lots of knitters I would like to be published, but first I just want to write a pattern that I can call mine.

7. Who is your inspiration?- My husband, my niece and my cat keep me moving. Without them, sometimes I think I would just disappear creatively.

8. Is there a craft that you have yet to try that you would like to have a go at?- Crochet is a dirty little mistress, I want to have her, take her, OWN her. But I cannot, no matter how hard I try. I just keep coming back to it only to fail again. I feel I will conquer her one day though….hopefully.

9. How often do you craft (everyday, every weekend, twice a week etc) ?- Every. Single. Day. It is my version of meditation/yoga/therapy all rolled into one.

10. Are you a messy or neat crafter?- Messy! I have no idea how my husband keeps from going insane with the amount of stuff I have everywhere. It’s all so organized to start, but I always have so many things on the needles that it just…grows!

11. What or who got you started crafting?- My Great Grandmother was a knitter, and it was stumbling upon her old knitting journals and needles that made me decide to give it a go. What a great decision!

Surpirsed My Failed Hat Works!

Surprised My Failed Hat Works!

See that girl above with the goofy, shocked expression on her face? That’s me. The first picture I have put of myself on my blog and more than less likely the last. I hate having my picture taken – always have – but since my stripped stocking cap turned out better than it had any right to after some careful washing (I think snowboarders would like this, don’t you?) I just had to share.

* * * * * * * * * *

Okay, it has been a couple of days since I have posted, but things have been a bit crazy here in the Buckeye State. There are a couple of things I want to give you a preview of – my mind has been on my knitting and my blog even as I find myself cleaning the bathtub for the fourth time. Let’s see what you think!

  • My Life in Books – Here I plan to have a post each week covering one of my bookshelves shelfs. One shelf at a time I want to show you who I am a little better through explaining my choice in books, their history and how it has changed me.
  • Photography Friday! – I want to showcase more pictures throughout the week, but on Fridays have my blog mainly set on the pictures I am taking. This may seem a little pretentious (especially considering the talent here in the blogging world) but I am really enjoying it and I want to share.
  • Stitch Pattern a Week – Definitely have to keep that going!
  • Etsy Finds – One day a week I want to include an item on Etsy that I am gaga over. This is sort of a way to investigate what sells and what doesn’t in the Etsy world, since my stuff still isn’t.

So which are you more excited to see? Hey, my first ever poll! 

So much to get caught up with and so little time (and almost 1,000 words already written) I am going to call it a day. So, friends and neighbors, I am going to leave you with a couple of photos and I hope you like them. More knitting pictures tomorrow (loads going on there as well) and I hope all is well and good for each and every one of you. Your kindness knows no bounds.

The Lake

The Lake

More Purple Flowers

More Purple Flowers

Max in Hi-Def

Max in Hi-Def

The Wooden Woodpecker

The Wooden Woodpecker

Max and the Setting Sun

Max and the Setting Sun

Ohh...Ahhh

Ohh…Ahhh

Purple Flowers

Purple Flowers

Unemployment & Gardening & Panic Monsters & Photographs…My What a Title!


Mmm….The dirt under my nails, my hair swelling from the heat, the sweet – oh so sweet – breeze that cools off the day. Fantastic!

It has been a good day so far, the hubby and I have been buzzing around the house with a new purpose – to clean/repair/improve every inch of the house and the garden. Within our budgetary means, which means anything we can do for free.

We have both been a little, preoccupied. Him not having a job is obviously already taking its toll, he’s like a hummingbird on crack. We will get through this no doubt, but I just wish I could ease the stress lines that are appearing on his face. It’ll be good for us to be together and working in the house, refreshing even. We can take our time, enjoy what we have and realized that we have more than enough in our lives.

I feel like I should be knitting, should be working on my Etsy store, should be blogging, should be taking photos, should be reading on how to….you know what? Never mind. In the here and now, I am happy just the way I am. I am going to drink my iced tea with lemonade and relax with a nice fiction book in all it’s purposeless splendor.

Just for fun (despite the Panic Monster’s fear of humiliation) here are some photos I’ve recently taken. Enjoy your weekend everyone, I will try to be more organized come Monday!

One Pink Rose.

One Pink Rose.

Sky at Sunrise

Sky at Sunrise

Before the Storm

Before the Storm

Flowers in Focus

Flowers in Focus

Full Moon at Sunrise

Full Moon at Sunrise

Golden Flowers

Golden Flowers

Full Moon at 4am

Full Moon at 4am

Sunrise Magical

Magical Sunrise

Rosebud

Rosebud

Water on Flowers

Water on Flowers

Hungry for Birdfeed

Hungry for Bird Feed

Bird in Tree

Bird in Tree

Dragonfly?

Dragonfly? Alien? Hmm…

Stupid Luck

Stupid Luck I Got This

Water Collected

Water Collected

A Duo of OSU Buckeye Hats


Last week I had this very sudden, very overwhelming urge to knit for fall. It seems quite silly considering it is still spring here in the Buckeye State, but all I could think about was cuddly sweaters, tailgating, hot chocolate and my OSU Buckeyes. So I went through my yarn stash, which happens to be full of fall colors, and found the scarlet and gray that screamed “Football Season!” as loudly as possible and casted on.

Thankfully this time I remembered to take pictures of my progress, just to see how the hat came to life. If it worked, fantastic! I would always have these to look back on and take gauge measurements on. If it didn’t, I would be able to see where the mistake was.

There was no need to worry however, the hat turned out fantastic! I had taken a pattern I have written about before (the Etta Hat) and heavily augmented it to fit the yarn I was using and the color changes that would be necessary. I still would never call this my own pattern, but I believe this is a step in the right direction. Sitting down with graph paper and rewriting to fit my needs was a bit scary at first, but I am thrilled with the results!

So with a successful hat cleaned, blocked and photographed I was feeling pretty good about myself. Then I started to stare at the hat, my Panic Monster going “Well, it certainly is GRAY isn’t it?”. I started to worry that there wasn’t enough color, not to mention an overwhelming (it isn’t really, but the Panic Monster thought there was) amount of gray. I checked the yardage I had left, figured if I prayed to the knitting gods there might just (barley) be enough for another hat. I was off and running, casting on hat number two with more red than gray.

As it turns out there was 5″ of red and (oh my!) 2″ of gray left to finish the hat. I just made it and I am aware of just how lucky I am that I did. I loved the new hat, it had more warmth to it with the scarlet framing the face. Then I started to stare at these two hats and I was perplexed, which one did I really like better? I loved how both the hats turned out and liked them both for different reasons. The hat with more gray seemed to be more akin to most OSU athletic colors and the red was warmer with that beautiful red framing the face and popping out with the lace. Stupid Panic Monster, I like both!

So I am going to leave it up to you friends and neighbors to tell me which one you think is better, if you would like to share that it. Do you like more red in the hat, or do you like more gray? I would love to hear from you, your input and influence is making me a better knitter!

Red? or Gray? YOU CHOOSE!!

Red? or Gray? YOU CHOOSE!!

So I am going to leave it up to you friends and neighbors to tell me which one you think is better, if you would like to share that it. Do you like more red in the hator do you like more gray? I would love to hear from you, your input and influence is making me a better knitter!

And yes, I am paying homage to House of Leaves here by changing the colors on the post, I was feeling puckish!

 

My Favorite Movies From A to Z


I want to give a HUGE Thank You to everyone that commented on my last post. I never dreamed that I would receive such kind words and support from such a wonderful group of people. I am incredibly thankful to all of you.

I love movies, always have and always will. Despite my emetophobia which can be exacerbated by seeing my phobia come to life on screen, I will never let that little Panic Monster keep me from what I love. Come what may!

Wanna see the links to these fantastic films on Amazon? Click Below and I will do the rest! Hope you’ve enjoyed reading my little list as I did creating it!

A Sad Day


I had planned on posting about my duo of OSU Buckeye hats today, but I am just not in the mood. We found out yesterday that my husband is going to lose his job….Monday. They sold his company and literally gave him, what, five days of notice?

The scariest part of having to live on just my salary is that our insurance was through his company, so come Tuesday yours truly will not be insured. That means no hand care, no medication coverage or either the panic monster or my stupid hand. I feel so horrible for my husband who has given this company 7 really faithful years.

So, to knit or not to knit? My panic monster is screaming that I should probably just sit in a padded room to avoid injury. Is this the American dream? Work your every loving ass off and have everything fall apart around you?

Okay, so I am feeling pretty bad for us right now. I just need to put my head down and push through. But man oh man, I am just terrified.