Tag Archives: read

One Lovely Blog Award!


One Lovely Blog Award.

One Lovely Blog Award.

Receiving blogging awards is still such a surprise to me. When I started this blog almost 18 weeks ago I never imagined anyone would read it let alone recognize my existence with an award. This particular lovely came from Movies, Silently. I love her blog, it was in fact one of the first blogs I started reading when I started my blogging adventure. Silent Movies are her specialty, but it doesn’t stop there. She’s cunning, funny, stylish and her posts are always a fantastic read. Seriously, do yourself a favor and pop over there – I will wait. ūüôā

So, down to the rules of the award.

  • Add the ‚ÄúOne Lovely Blog Award‚ÄĚ image to your post (Check!)
  • Share seven things about you (Check!)
  • Pass the award on to seven nominees
  • Thank the person who nominated you and add a short blurb about them.
  • Inform the nominees by posting on their blogs¬†

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** So, 7 new (and supposedly interesting things about myself) **

  1. I met the love of my life when I was 17 years old…on a blind date. We both worked for the same chain of movie theaters and a friend thought it would be the perfect set-up to get Trevor to run into her arms (we really are that different, and difficult ;)). Eight months later we were engaged!
  2. When we moved into our condo in 2004 our next door neighbors were meth addicts. These were the scariest moments of my life! When their cat wandered into our yard with infected wounds from being punctured by needles Trevor and I gave them two choices; 1) Give us that cat and go away or 2) we are going to call the cops and have you arrested. Fatty never liked us, but I think we gave him the best (and last) 3 years of his life.
  3. It has become a good luck/ family tradition for the men in the family to get heat stroke on their wedding night. My grandfather, my dad and my husband were all incapacitated on their wedding night. We got home, I put my husband to bed with Advil and Gatorade and went downstairs and ate the white chocolate fondue pot he had prepared ūüėČ
  4. When I was I was working at the hospital in college, I was going through the ER to get to my car and saw a man self-canabalizing. That’s right friends and neighbors, he was eating his own fingers. I dutifully told the nurse what was happening in the hallway and the proceeded to go get my own lunch.
  5. In high school I was running after my crush after a concert. Being that I was in high heels and a skirt (and horribly clumsy) my shoe got stuck in-between the sidewalk and the grass propelling me, and my skirt, forward. After recovering from my humiliation ( it didn’t take long, stupid crap like this happens to me all the time) we realized the foot was in fact very broken. On the plus side, my crush carried me to the car, ER and home. Then made a joke to carry me around all the time. I was elated – and that feeling never changed, even after I found out he had a crush on my brother.
  6. My all time favorite band is The Smiths. You may think it’s music to wallow in, but I love it!
  7. I have an unnatural love for horror movies. After my OCD made normal things in life seem terrifying, watching a horror movie – and being scared and something you SHOULD be scared at – makes sense. There is not a lot I haven’t seen – and Martyrs is the best/worst of them all.

Okay. Done! Now for my nominees!

  1. A World Created – Hannah, until we started conversing I thought that all internet friendships were supposed to be creep and weird. Now I know that a true bond can be created out of kindness and passion for your craft. Every post seems better than the last.
  2. Traveling the world….and much more¬†– Your blog shows your deft hand with your craft and a sharp wit that makes your posts a pleasure to read. Bonus, you were the first person to really help me make the Katniss Shawl for my niece – I am indebted to you!
  3. Lottieknits – You know why you are getting this, your kindness knows no bounds. For the rest of you – go read this blog! It has snippets of everything you would ever want to read about. It has been a constant source of inspiration to me.
  4. lollyknits – Just another blogger that I desperately wish was my next door neighbor. Decisive and funny, her posts are a joy to read. Her pictures make me jealous (this is a good thing and a compliment) and again – another kind soul that is always willing to lend a hand.
  5. MonsterYarns – Although it seems like everyone already knows this blog, I am going to suggest you quit reading mine and go straight over yonder to MonsterYarns. The post is fabulous, the writing superb! Not to mention that some of the comments I have received from this blogger are hilarious!
  6. Rob’s Surf Report – A great writer, blogger and friend. There is always something to heavily consider after reading his posts – and not commenting doesn’t feel like an option. I am inspired by the free way he writes and voices his opinions.
  7. Creative Writing with the Crimson League – This is a newer blog (for me) that I’ve started following. Do you have a blog that you just cannot skip, even if you’ve been up for 20 hours? If not –¬†head over, you shant be disappointed!

Alright friends and neighbors, two posts in one day again but totally worth it. Signing off for a bit and I will see you tomorrow….unless something else decides to flood. ūüôā

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!

 

RaT Day #5 – Cover Title Scramble & A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On!


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TitleScramble2

So the challenge for today is pretty self explanatory – Love.Life.Read has given us the lists and we are to try to crack 5 for each month. I have to say that my OCD driven mind is SO PLEASED with this challenge – this type of puzzle is right in my wheel house! Do I have it in me to figure it out? Well, lets give it a whirl shall we?

May Titles:

  1.  hte   h5t   vewa РThe 5th Wave ( By Rick Yancey)
  2.  eht   scetrsahnen РThe Enchantress (Michael Scott)
  3. ginwre – Winger (Smith Andrew and Sam Bosma)
  4.  sujt   neo   skis РJust One Kiss (By Susan Mallery)
  5. yan   shduesc  lwil   od РAny Duchess Will Do (By Tessa Dare)
  6.  ti   dha   ot   eb    uyo РIt Had To By You (Jill Shalvis)
  7. tols  dan   dfnuo РLost and Found (Nicole Williams)
  8.  het   yelbon  gnki РThe Boleyn King ( Laura Andersen)
  9.  neoc  noup   a   niprec РOnce Upon a Prince ( Rachel Hauck)
June Titles:
  1. het   nomo   dan  remo  РThe Moon and More (Sarah Dessen)
  2. egies  dna   ormts РSiege and Storm (Leigh Bardugo)
  3. rtas    dsceur  РStar Cursed (Jessica Spotswood)
  4. teswe  lsat   ira  РSweet Salt Air (Barbara Belinsky)
  5. het   crenwmeo РThe Newcomer (Robyn Carr)
  6. veorfre   oto   rfa РForever too Far (Abbi Glines)
  7. het  miatng   fo  deyrr  uanacvhga РThe Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh (Stephanie Laurens)
  8. wot  fo  a  dnki РTwo of a Kind (Susan Mallery)
  9. neo   etswe  deri РOne Sweet Ride (Jaci Burton)
  10. hwta  hte   kedu   sesdeir РWhat the Duke Desires (Sabrina Jeffries)
  11. 11) kifagn   ti РFaking It (Cora Carmack)
July Titles:
 

1) fi   het  ohes   tisf  РIf the Shoe Fits (Megan Mulry)
2) eth   eegd   fo  vnere РThe Edge of Never (J. A. Redmerski)
3) rfits  gisht   a   veonl  РFirst Sight: a Novel (Danielle Steel)
4) utre   lvoe  РTrue Love (Jude Deveraux)
5) ehtre   tletil   rdswo Р Three Little Words (Susan Mallery)
6) eht   gniht  si  velia РThe Night is Alive (Heather Graham)
7) feprcte  gifln  РPerfect Fling (Carly Phillips)
8) scoeh  hte   gronw   ugy   veag   imh  het  gwonr  gefrni Р Chose the Wrong Guy Gave Him the Wrong Finger (Beth Harbison)
9) meoh  ot   kewihsy   kecre РHome to Whiskey Creek (Brenda Novak)

August Titles:
  1.  lafl   fo   veif РFall of Five (Pittacus Lore)
  2. wrnco    fo    gdminhit РCrown of Midnight (Sarah J. Maas)
  3. hte   desah  fo  het   onom РThe Shade of the Moon (Susan Beth Pfeffer)
  4. sero  bahrro   ni  mlobo РRose Harbor in Bloom (Debbie Macomber)
  5. eht   rohe РThe Hero (Robyn Carr)
  6. gib   ysk diwengd  РBig Sky Wedding (Linda Lael Miller)
  7. yatacasw  veoc  a  ltehrse  yab   venlo РCastaway Cove: A Shelter Bay Novel (JoAnn Ross)
  8. siht   rilg   a   veonl  РThis Girl: a Novel (Colleen Hoover)
  9. mtetapinto – Temptation (Sherryl Woods)

Yes, I did all of them…the Panic Monster insisted that I finish what I started. I should also mention that I have never heard of a single one of these books….how out of the loop am I?

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 ** Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On **

Let’s do book shimmies! We made it through the week-long part of the read-a-thon!!! Congratulate yourself and your new bookish friends on their progress so far. Did you get as much read as you wanted to so far? Have you changed your goals for the 24-hr marathon read?
Despite what feels like doing loads of reading, I haven’t finished nearly as many books as I thought I would. So far I have finished:
And I am currently reading: Double Feature by Owen King
Joe Hill and author Owen King read "Double Feature".

Joe Hill and author Owen King read “Double Feature”.

So have I changed my plans for the 24 hour RaT? Not so much. I am going to read for a whole 24 hours, but I don’t want to feel pushed to put up big numbers. It doesn’t really matter how many books I read, just that I get to put aside time to catch up on all the reading that seems to have fallen by the wayside (or is buried under yarn). Either way I am very excited to participate – and also to see if I can sit still and read for 24 straight hours!

Read-A-Thon Day #4 – Book Spine Poetry & Tears on My Pillow


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SpinePoetry2Okay Dokey folks, time for some book spine poetry brought to you by Oh, Chrys!! I thought about going through my library and amassing this amazing poem…then I decided that would feel like cheating. As my Summer Reading List is always evolving – based on what we get from the library primarily – I tried to do the best with the actual books on my list. So, as sad as this may be (much like my real poetry, which is why I would never share it) here is my Read-A-Thon Book Spine Poetry Challenge!

Delirium in the woods,

Gulp.

The shinning girls double feature,

The good nurse.

Wow, that was painful! Hope you’ll stay with me through the second part of this post after that atrocity! Just trying to stay authentic, that’s how I roll! ūüôā

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‚Äļ‚Äļ‚Äļ‚Äļ¬†Tears on My Pillow¬†‚ÄĻ‚ÄĻ‚ÄĻ‚ÄĻ

  • The Girl in the Green Raincoat

    The Girl in the Green Raincoat

    Author: Laura Lippman

  • Style: Quality Paperback
  • Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
  • Length: 158 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-06-193836-8
  • Year: 2008
  • Publisher: Morrow
  • Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Share a quote from your current read or tell us about a book that really pulled on your heart strings. What was it about that book/quote that made you cry?

She knew what it was like to fight for her own life, but this had been different. She was defending her daughter. Now she could only hope that she hadn’t killed her in the process.

Page 147

Obviously this quote was at the end of the book just by looking at the page number. I had invested hours of my time becoming immersed in this story – invested in the characters. Laura Lippman’s Tess Monaghan novels are of course part of a series, so this book brought me back to characters I have followed for years. I have been following Tess through all sorts of painful and dangerous shenanigans in Baltimore, so when this novella came out after being published in The New York Times Magazine¬†I jumped on it.

In this book, my Tess – after years of rejecting the idea of settling down – is seven months pregnant and on bed rest. Firstly, I was amazed that Lippman went this direction with the character, as a private detective a baby just didn’t seem to fit. I went in a bit weary but Lippman didn’t disappoint me because Tess was as wary of it as I was!

This quote pulled at my heartstrings and indeed made me tear up because I understood, at a very personal level, the idea of protecting your unborn child no matter the consequences. She was so worried about becoming a mother, her lack of motherly instinct, but when the time came it just kicked in. I’ve been told that is how it really is when you have a child. We have never gotten to the baby part, and I was holding my breath to see if Tess did. Want to find out if she got there? Well…READ THE BOOK!

Read-a-Thon Day #3 – Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee!


Hello again friends and neighbors! I am really sorry to be doing this whole two posts a day thing but so much love and effort has been put into this read-a-thon that I think they deserve their own posts. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did!

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** Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee! Participation Post **

Introduce us to your favorite fictional female ‚Äď What does she look like? Is there an actress that you think of when you think of the character? Is she tough or timid? You could do a mock interview with your character, or create a bio/resume for her.

With so many strong female character’s out there, how can I choose just one? Well, I can because I have to for the purpose of this post I suppose – so let’s see.

I think my all time favorite female fictional character (wow, try saying that one 5 times quickly) would be Frannie Goldsmith from Stephen King’s The Stand. I know I talk about this book all the time but I just love it! This is a collection of completely amazing characters facing the most horrific situations – good or bad they flourish in that role, right to the very end.

Frannie is…amazing to me. When I first started to write up how I felt about this character I was being overly dramatic about the whole thing. I was trying to write like a literary critic – which I am not – so I scrapped the whole thing. Instead, I would like to outline for you the reason that I love her as a character.

  • She remains undaunted by the horrible plague that swept the world. While it of course affected her, it was her resilience to take it day by day that I was so impressed with. Frannie did what needed to be done, stiff upper lip, strong willed and determined to keep living.
  • Pre-plague she didn’t want to marry Jess, the boy who got her pregnant. She was young, but old enough to recognize that what she wanted was the baby – not the man.
  • She fell in love with Stu Redman (my favorite male character in the book) in a very non-sensational way. They were thrown together and yes, she felt safer with a man, but she would not settle for Harold or anyone else. She found love in tragedy, and embraced it much the way she would have pre-plague.
  • She had the strength to carry on with a pregnancy that was a 50/50 shot of being doomed. As someone who has had so many reproductive problems – this strength was startling to me. She defended her life and the life of her child right till the end of the story.
  • Even after being confronted with copious amounts of reasons to just give in, she never – ever – did.

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‚ÜϬ†Molly Ringwald in The Stand Miniseries – NOT WHAT I PICTURED!¬†‚ÜĎ

I have often imagined Frannie in my mind, and these are the actresses that came closest to looking how I pictured her (if you morphed these three together in some way it would be perfect):

Well that about covers my love affair with my favorite female character. I hope you’ve enjoyed (or survived) this post. If you haven’t read The Stand – go read it – seriously! ūüôā

Class Orientation for Read-a-Thon #SummerLovin13


Well friends and neighbors, looks like this week is going to be a multiple post kinda week. I love it, I just hope to not bore you to tears!

Class Orientation‚ÄĚ Participation Post:

  • Introduce yourself and set your goals for the read-a-thon. Some interesting information to include in this post would be Where are you blogging from? What got you into blogging/reading? What is your favorite genre? The possibilities are endless, just be creative!

Hello! My name is Rachel and I am blogging from the Buckeye State (Ohio) in the United States. This is the first time I have participated in any group activity in the blogging world, I’ve only been doing this for about 15 weeks so I will try not to judge myself too harshly. I stumbled upon this read-a-thon from a fellow blogger and knew it was something I just had to get involved in.

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I started my blog as a way to share my knitting and my families history of knitting with anyone will to read it. As I progressed and the weeks went by, the blog has morphed into something quite different. I talk about books, movies, knitting, my challenges with OCD and even my daily life. It is now akin to a diary that I put out for the world to read, and the feedback has been invaluable. More than just feedback, I have become suddenly immersed with people from all over the world who are passionate about what they are doing – the whole surreal experience has opened my eyes to all the wonderful things there are to do in this world. Suddenly, my bucket list has grown exponentially.

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Perfect Example of How I Read!

Perfect Example of How I Read!

I have always been a reader, which is odd because my parents are most certainly not readers. My mom was always sewing in her spare time and my dad takes great pleasure in admitting he has never – and I truly mean never – read a book in his life.

Even as a kid I used to go buy poster board, line it into graph paper and keep track of all the wonderful books I could get my hands on. My parents thought it was odd, my brother thought I was a dork (even though he was a huge reader and probably my inspiration for starting to read such great quantities of books) but I loved looking up and remembering all the amazing places I had been with these books. Far away lands with eccentric characters – all while never leaving my room.

After graduation, literature and college where were one in the same. I tore through the classics in a desperate fury to talk to others about it. The air on intellect on a college campus can be pompous, but hey – it was college.

After my second and third graduation, ¬†I realized that reading was just going to be one of those things I could never give up. I read constantly – I even listen to audiobooks when I am working out, knitting, gardening, cooking…pretty much whenever I can. I am a bit pickier with what I read now, having established that I love all genres but now old enough to recognize okay writing from exceptional writing.

Did I mention I have a library in our home with over 1,000 books? Yup, this kid (and her husband, niece, brother, friends) get quite a bit of use of the books amassed in the basement.

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So my goal for the read-a-thon….READING! I have so many books on my TBR list that it is embarrassing. I have been working on getting a business off the ground and in doing such haven’t had as much time to read as I would like. So for this week I am putting all other distractions aside and plunging into some amazing books.

Honestly, this was far over due…and my cat loves it!

Max is a Happy Cat When I am Reading!

Max is a Happy Cat When I am Reading!

Your Mood & Your Gauge – A Psychological Study


– Not to sound desperate but Please Read This: I need input! –

The panic monster in my head started screaming at me one dreary morning this week, it was a litany of “you swatched this, why can’t you do anything right?” and “do you even know how to knit”. Well Panic Monster, I did a little study and proved that you are seriously messing up my knitting.

The back story to this diatribe is that a few weeks ago I designed a pattern for a baby blanket. I swatched, double checked, changed sizes to accommodate my misbehaving hand and put it aside knowing it would be ready when I went to cast on. So on Monday I did just that, I proceeded to cast on a whopping 244 stitches and went full speed ahead fully intending on pumping out this blanket. To my horror, the blanket felt stiff and tight. No longer was this the soft, airy, loose baby blanket I had envisioned, honestly the silly thing felt more like a rug than a blanket. I doubled checked all my notes and my swatch, I was doing exactly what I had planned. No deviation from the original swatch. So what happened?

The psychology major in me (one of my many degrees screams my OCD, type-A rattled mind) decided that my hand was not to blame for this one, my brain was the culprit. When I originally did my swatch I was relaxed; the weather was beautiful so the windows were open, I was as well rested as I get and Max was curled in my lap mesmerized by the yarn moving inches from his face. All was good in my brain the day of the swatch. On Monday, the day after Mother’s Day, I still felt emotionally hung over from once again not being a Mom. I was tense, upset, hadn’t slept well and had consumed copious amounts of caffeine. You can guess what comes next.

My Panic Monster was messing with my knitting.

I frogged the blanket and did another swatch, appalled by the fact I needed needles two sizes bigger to achieve the same effect. For all you non-knitters out there, two sizes is a huge difference – just picture needing shoes two sizes bigger. Two sizes…what are you supposed to do with that? and how much of this has affected my other knitted items? I have never noticed a finish product looking awkward or clunky, so how do you proceed?

Well, there are sedative….Just kidding. Kind of. You’ll see.

I spent the week doing the same swatch while experiencing the following emotions: Exhaustion (up for more than 19 hours), Happiness, Calmness, Sedation (a happy little pill to calm the Panic Monster that I rarely use, but after Mother’s Day I was a mess for several days) and Extreme Anxiety. I would come back to my needles during these emotions, knit the original swatch and then proceed to correct it with the appropriate needles. The results were a tad jarring.

Swatch: 10rows by 10rows should be 4″ by 4″ on size 7 needles.

  1. Exhaustion: Swatch was 5″ by 5.4″. Desired swatch size had to be changed to size 6 needles with increase in tension.
  2. Happiness: Swatch was 4″ by 4″. No changes necessary. Also no surprise.
  3. Calmness: Swatch was 4″ by 4.6″. Only slight correction in tension needed.
  4. Sedation: Swatch was 6.2″ by 8.7! Changed to size 5 needles rendered a product of 5″ by 5.4″. Changed to size 4 needles 4.1″ by 4.2″. Once tension was correct the product was 4″ by 4″.
  5. Extreme Anxiety: Swatch was 2.8″ by 3.1″. Change to size 9 needles resulted in 3.9″ by 3.8″. Consideration with tension and yet another swatch led me to size 10 needles which was 4.1″ by 4.1″.

I am rarely sedated so I’ve dismiss this as a duh! moment, if you are fuzzy and loopy of course your knitting isn’t going to be tight. That’s why it’s not a good idea to knit while drunk, one of the many good ideas :). It was the Extreme Anxiety swatch that scares me; as I move my knitting to sweaters, shrugs and socks my anxiety could produce a product that is never going to fit right. How can you correct for the Panic Monster?

What I have noticed is that my knitting relaxes me. So I asked a nurse at work to watch my vitals during a panic attack; everyone I work with already knows about my Panic Monster and I have never felt ashamed of it. Thank God for nurses, oh hell, hospital staff in general. Nothing surprises them. Anyway,  after about 20 minutes of straight knitting I am calmer, my heart rate slows and my blood pressure drops. So I have come to the conclusion that I need to be knitting something simple for about 20 minutes before moving on to the more complex, more complicated types of knitting to ensure that my gauge is correct. I am going to have to do the same thing before I swatch a pattern out so that I can avoid more frogging.

Yowzer. What a week.

So, friends and neighbors who manage to get through my ramblings I would like to ask a few questions. Have anything like this happened to you? Do you find that your swatches can vary from one day to the next? How do you work through the process of ensuring that what you are knitting will be the exact shape and size that it needs to be?