Slap me on the Forehead, and put up a big L.

Seriously…

Ok, bright eyed and bushy tailed, I started knitting at around 7 this morning. Did some math, reconfigured hubby’s socks for the 322, and started ribbing. I had several issues with stitches not knitting. Aha!, I thought. I forgot the end weights. I added the end weights.

Knitted some more, but those particular stitches wouldn’t knit. I added more weight. 99 rows down, and I can’t see anything hanging below the ribber, and I should. Matter of fact, the bar I use for casting on should be visible, and it wasn’t.

I started shedding weights. I crawled under the table to see what was going on, but I had to shed even MORE weights just to see! Apparently, a stitch from about row 25 got hung up somewhere, and never let go.

I just thought I had an amazing weight problem. Ha! But now, I have to go start over. Maybe this time, I’ll check before I add weights.

Oh yes, if you’re knitting with a ribber, steel-toed boots come in handy. Weights are heavy!

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Hmm, for the non-machine knitters, and/or non-knitters:

When you knit by hand, you use two to five needles at a time. You can see your work, hold it out, shake it, stare at it till you go cross-eyed. You also push the yarn off the needles as you go.

When you use a flat-bed machine, you can still see one side of your work and use up to 200 needles. On most flat bed machines, (except Passaps) you have to use weights to pull the fabric down and over the needle.

Ribbers are like knitting with 4 hands. You attach the ribber to the flat-bed, to create a double bed. That’s 200 needles on each side. The problem is you can’t see your work. The knitting goes in between the flat-bed and the ribber.

Most problems related to needles not knitting on a machine are related to weight. For flat-bed use, I can usually just use my fishing weights (dipped in plastic to coat the lead), but ribbers require even more weight.

That was obviously not my problem. I wasn’t paying attention when hanging the weights, otherwise, I would have felt the accordion like fabric hang-up. Did I mention that I am stubborn?

I simply continued to add weights, which did work for a while. When I got to the end tho, not so much. It’s a good joke on me.

About the steel-toed boots- anyone have a spare pair? I wasn’t joking. Some of those weights weigh more than my twins!

Inspiration

Yesterday was a no knit day. I had cast on to make my sweater, but the first attempt ended in a stuck carriage and yarn torn apart. I was trying to work on my 322, with the ribber pushed down. I really just wanted to knit. The second attempt ended with 8 stitches knit and the rest fell off. I decided I was obviously not concentrating, and went to paint my toe nails. (Sometimes it helps to just take a break).

We worked very hard this weekend and had a very long day on Monday. And, well, sigh, this week hasn’t gone much better.

The twins had a rough morning getting to school and queuing up to go into class. The sound of airplanes really upset them, but it was over before I got their headphones. I went to give Jamie’s teacher a heads up.

I know I look harried and hassled just about every day of the week. But she always looks put together. Not today. Her husband just deployed and one of her kids had an ear infection. I know that look. She was about to get 28 children, and I’m willing to bet she’d wished she could go back to bed and bury her head under the pillow.

I made her a goody bag. Not much, not expensive, just a little something to say ‘I know what you’re going thru’. Hopefully, it will make her smile. I know that I had fun making it. Maybe it will provide us both a little inspiration.

My husband will most likely be leaving for a trip in the next week or so. I’ll only have a few days notice. We just dealt with stomach flu, so hopefully we’re in the clear for a bit. All the appoinments are booked so that I can do them while the kids are in school. We’ll stock up on easy fix meals. I will, hopefully, get all the laundry done.

I’ve been a single mom before. It is nothing new. I miss my hubby when he’s gone. The hard part is doing without him. He’ll take the boys out so that I can work in peace. He picks up the milk, when we’re running low. When the boys are misbehaving, he’s my back up. He’s the spare set of hands that I need.

Yes, I give him a hard time about throwing his laundry on the floor or letting the dishes pile up. He gets side tracked six ways from Sunday. He spoils me rotten. Some days, he’s the only adult I talk to.

Yes, I understand why she has bags under her eyes and why she needs that moment before the kids come rushing in. That will be me. So I hope a little bag of goodies will cheer her up. A little recognition of what she’s going thru. Because other than her husband, no one is going to tell her ‘thank you’ for all that she does, while he’s gone.

Needing A Yarn Fix

I need a yarn fix. I saw a bunch of vertically knitted sweaters and decided I need one. I also haven’t knitted on a machine in days.

Last night, I did the math and figured out what I wanted. Gauge swatch done and measured. I just need to knit, right?

I leisurely got up at 8:30, made my breakfast, and saw the table I needed to get finished. I had planned on painting Sebastian’s vintage dresser. (Vintage meaning it is older than me and cost $15 at a yard sale). Laundry has been overflowing all week due to drama and disease. That gauge swatch sat there, staring at me from the laundry room door. We’ve also been trying to get Sebastian to the exchange to cash a check and let him shop.

As I was eating breakfast, Jamie walked over in his underpants, ready to swim. Between Hubby and I, we’ve got round one of the painting done. Pools cleaned, aired up and refilled. Laundry is going. We ran out of paint, so a run to the Exchange is in order. I snuck off while the paint was drying and charted out some cable patterns. I want to use the cable to create an empire waist-type of shaping.

I don’t know if I’m going to get to knit today. I’m watching the twinks swim, knowing we need snacks soon. Dad’s dreading the shopping trip. Laundry needs switching out. Can’t say I’m not dreaming of a slightly darker than lavender, sparkly yarn sitting at my machine, calling to me.

Maybe I’ll sneak off after dinner. Laundry be damned! But, it is my turn to put the kids down. Coffee and an all nighter? Maybe, if I can get up early tomorrow, before the kids…

Time Flies

Oh my, where to begin? I’ve gotten some lovely packages this week. My coffee syrup order from Lollicups. White chocolate, chocolate mint, caramel and raspberry. Finally getting my morning coffee in the groove again!

A very dusty, damaged Studio sk700 found its way to me from E-bay. With some cleaning and repairs, I will hopefully have it working soon. The knit radar (a nice device designed to make any yarn fit a pattern) is broken. The mast part of the yarn tension unit is missing. The row counter is missing the triangle that forwards the count. Worst of all, tho, is the carriage that keeps shedding parts. Just a wee bit of work and elbow grease ahead.

A package from Goodwill auction came bearing a Corona carriage, clamps, and the coolest little patterning gizmo I’ve ever seen. It also had a tappet tool and some transfer tools. The second auction box had a tension mast and rod (thank goodness), garter bar set, some cooky tools and a knit radar 5, complete with patterns.

I’ve been wanting a garter bar set since I got started. On E-bay, they range in the $24-60 range. I had already bought an incomplete kr6 pattern set, so now I will have a set to share with a friend. I’m hoping to repair the kr7 in the 700 with the parts from the kr5. If I can’t, I’ll exchange them until I can get the kr7 fixed.

To make simple sense of all that: 1. My coffee fix is fixed, 2. I got roughly $300-400 worth of equipment for about $100. Of course, I lost my glasses for most of the week and can’t find a tappet tool.

Queen Victoria is due to deliver sometime very soon. Yes, girls, we will have baby Wawas soon. Call it Christmas in September. Of course, they’ll probably be Solstice pups and tempermental.

Jamie has been cleared by the cardiologist, and the neurologist upped his meds. Otherwise, little man is doing great!

The twins have been doing their first week of homework cheerfully. That probably has something to do with the gummy bears and m&m’s I’ve been bribing them with.

I attempted to go to a yoga class this week. Apparently the moon and stars were out of alignment. We got there late, my neighbor and I. I was definitely feeling motivated, so I worked out with the Xbox. Yes, it hurts to breathe. And walk. And lift objects. Enthusiasm can overcome many sensible ideas.

I also managed to unload baby clothes and socks. In the process, the garage got trashed. Just another thing to fix this weekend. Hopefully, I will be moving freely by then.

I’ve almost finished Alex’s sweater and gotten 50 odd rows of Mom’s wrap done. I keep dreaming of sweaters and patterns, but other things keep getting in the way. It is almost Friday, and I’m behind in some things, ahead in others.

Time has flown by, forgetting that it should’ve stopped for me. I feel like I got dragged behind a low flying pegasus.

Fixing a Sponge Bar or Two

Today, I’m finishing up my sponge bars. Here’s the link I used for directions Knittsings

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You may ask yourself, what the heck is a sponge bar. Well, it is this little bar that hides under the needle bed, to hold the needless in place as you knit. If you buy a used machine, and it doesn’t knit correctly, the machine more than likely isn’t broken, it just needs a new sponge bar. Even my barely used ribber needed a new one. Sponges wear out. (Really, its an easy fix, and who ever invented the sponge bar was quite clever).

How do you know if you need a sponge bar replaced? If the needles have a tendency to pop out of line, particularly up or down while sliding your carriage across- definite indicator. If you have oiled your machine and it is still hard to move the carriage, time to take a peek.

Sponge bars can be found by looking at the side of the needle bed. Look to the right, and you’ll see a square hole. You might be able to push it out with your finger, but I had to use a flat head to push mine far enough out. Then you look on the other side of your bed, and viola, there it is!

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Good Morning?

In the year and a half that my husband and I dated, I knew two things for sure- he was a great cook and sucked at getting up before 10. The food hasn’t helped my waistline, but I used to enjoy those long Saturday mornings while he slept.

You wouldn’t think being a night owl would be genetic, but in our family, it is. My father-in-law rarely goes to bed before midnight and sleeps till 10 or 12, depending on his schedule. The same goes for my husband and his twins.

Every morning, I get up to take Queen Victoria out. Then I cuddle in bed and listen to the alarm go off 4 or 5 times. Revielle sounds at 7, and I’m on the wake up train. First dad, who says he’s got one more snooze, then the twins. They still, at 6, sleep like they did when they were infants. Curled up, hugging blankets, or Jamie, the blanket thief does. Lukas is usually out in the cold. But I rub their backs, tickle their bottoms and tug them out of bed.

My oldest, Sebastian, is like me, up and at ’em. Sometimes he’s too much for me in the mornings. He’s definitely too much for the sleepy heads that come trundling, bathrobe or blankets trailing, out of their rooms.

I make Dad his coffee and my latte and watch the show. It is like a circus in slow motion. Twins come out and lay one the love sac. Lukas listening for his stomach to growl before he heads towards the cereal boxes. Sebastian jumps around, eyeing Jamie, wanting to tickle him into alertness. Dad has a zombie stagger heading towards the coffee maker. Gheghis and Victoria put in their bids for attention, Ghenghis with his full 25 lbs of puggle mass. Lights flicker on, and the day has begun.

I miss my quiet mornings. I love the circus tho. Most mornings. Can’t wait for Saturday and Sunday, when the sleepy heads linger in bed, and I get my coffee in peace.

I don’t wonder at how all the men in my life have changed it, I am just glad that there are days that I can appreciate it.

Birthday Shebang

Ok, so if you’ve read this, you might be dying to know what happened.

On B-day, I managed to decorate the cakes, change the tube and get the training wheels on. The big reveal- the boys actually adored each toy. Truly less is more. Everything got played with, and then came the bikes. I took the boys outside and banged on the garage door. The boys climbed OVER the bikes to look for their presents. We had to turn them around and point. They were very excited. They are a little scared, as these training wheels aren’t down to the ground. It will take time for them to adjust.

I’m hoping to get class flyers out this weekend. Meanwhile, I need to get this site up and fully functioning into what I want it to be.

Birthday: Top Super Secret Mission That Never Ends!

Birthdays should be a simple thing.  People buy you presents, you unwrap them and you feel happy. Right?  Try having three birthdays in one week.

PART I

We wanted to get the twins new bikes for their birthdays.  They’ve gotten bigger, and it is starting to cause issues with the peddles and balance, and, well, everything.  We wanted something exciting, but with training wheels.  Next spring is early enough to do the full on, two-wheeled riding.

My lovely Hubby goes to Target to look for bikes.  We’d scoped them out, and wanted 18″ bikes.  Target had only 16″ers.  He calls me up, to let me know that he didn’t find what we were looking for.  Me being the naive mommy that I am, thought maybe Toys’r’Us would have them.  Um, yeah. The TRU in the GPS was a Babies’r’Us.  It is an hour drive to the nearest big kids’ store. Hubby goes and checks inside, just in case. Wally world has one. In total, he goes to 6 stores to find 2 18″ bikes.  They are awesome, they are cool, and they are almost perfect.

 

Part II

Bikes hidden in the garage, it was time to take the kids shopping for each other.  And Dad. If you tell your kids, ‘Hey, we’re going on a Top Super Secret Mission’, they might get a little excited.  A bit curious, maybe.  Sebastian was great.  He knew we were up to something.  The twins freaked out.  They did not want to go, no matter what.  5 minutes of screams and whines, and we were at the base exchange, unloading.  They were grumpy the whole way in.  We walked up to the ice cream counter, and dad leaned over, “Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to eat ice cream and wait with Mommy while Sebastian and I go on the second mission”.  Of course, Sebastian had a grumbly look by this point, but cheered up after he was told he’d get ice cream too.

The big boys went in and picked out gifts for the twins.  The twins picked out their very first real ice cream cones (we’ve always done cups). They walked very s-l-o-w-l-y to a booth, so that they didn’t drop their ice cream.  The second mission took a bit of time.  Then the big guys come back with double and triple sacked presents in hiding.  Hubby took them out to the car, so that no one could poke or prod them.  I took Jamie in first.  At a soon to be 6, they were just beginning to understand about buying presents for other people.  Jamie wanted this and that, but eventually picked an Etch-a-Sketch and remote controlled truck for Lukas.  He told me flat out what he wanted.  We were headed to the door, when I remembered that we needed a present for Dad too.  We ran over, and Jamie picked out a shirt.

Sebastian was standing outside the entrance of the exchange.  I handed him the keys, and asked him to put the bag out in the car.  I had asked him where Dad and Lukas were, and got some kind of mish mash about washing faces.  I thought we should wait where we were, as the bathrooms were opposite the food court.  Silly me.  Hubby comes walking up with Lukas from the food court, and asks if I’ve seen Sebastian.  Apparently, HE was supposed to have washed his face.  I reassured hubby that all was well, and Sebastian would be back.  I grabbed Lukas, and off we went.

Lukas quickly understood the mission, and I was able to take him over to where Jamie’s present was.  We paused to have a good look and some of the other toys, then it was off to get Dad’s present.  Lukas was fairly easy. He’s my sweet boy who rarely causes a fuss.

Then, we were back outside the exchange.  Hubby and I had to decide how to get the boys to a happy spot, and let Sebastian and I get another present for him.  Apparently, Jamie had already let it slip that we were getting Dad’s presents too.  Hubby covered his ears and said ‘Don’t tell me.  It’s a surprise!” Ahhhh kids. Dad took the kids to the car to watch a movie, while Sebastian and I raced back into the store.  Sebastian picked the perfect gift, having spotted it earlier.  Then we were outside headed to the car.  Top Super Secret Mission accomplished. Almost.

 

PART III

Dad had a good birthday, full of gifts and carrot cake. The twins even sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him twice! They don’t like to sing at all.  I got the twins’ presents wrapped, and the cakes baked this morning.  We had a small problem.  One of the bikes didn’t come with training wheels.  After dinner, I headed out to pick them up.  Then it was chore time, followed by bed time.  For chore time, while the boys were all occupied cleaning up, hubby decided to go put the training wheels on the bike.  No big deal, right?

The back tire was flat.  As in, big hole next to the air valve flat.  Frustration was radiating off my dear husband.  Things can never be easy.  He went to put the boys to bed, and I rushed over to the exchange.  No 18″ innertubes.  Patch kit and small bike repair kit in hand, as we couldn’t find the other one, I raced back home.  Hugged and kissed my kids good night and watched them in their footie pajamas, run back to bed.  Dad and I headed into the garage.

We successfully got the rear tire off.  I even managed to patch the tire correctly.  Then, I thought I put another hole in the tire.  We pulled it off again and patched it. Both patches looked great.  Then there was another hole, and another hole, and yup, you guessed it, another.  No patching was done after the second one, but hubby inspected the bike frame, and thought some of the metal might have punctured the tube in multiple places.  He got a foam brush and some plasti-dip. He coated the wheel frame, so that hopefully, it won’t puncture the next tire.  I can only hope.

The saga will continue tomorrow, to see if I can find a new tube to go in, before we open presents tomorrow night. Maybe I will get to knit tomorrow.  I seriously doubt it.

A Bit Hey-go-mad

Saturday was my 6th wedding anniversary. I spent it trying to get a ribber for my 322. I had been sniped out of one the night before. Hubby was actually looking up prices for a new one. (I already knew it was out of our budget).

The drive for the ribber was based on the fact that I had spent 8+ hours ribbing his socks. He wants socks. I want to make them. Neither of us want me to not be able to walk afterwards. So my sweet hubby made me a wonderful stand. It helps quite a bit on the back, but not the time.

We found a deal, made an offer. We were waiting on the counter offer, but instead, the seller said yes. I would feel a bit guilty, but since it was a months’ allowance, the budget didn’t twinge a bit.

So no steak dinner. If my husband was home every anniversary, birthday and holiday, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. He’s got a .5 average of making any given date. I even forgot to get a card. I never forget the card. Usually that’s his job.

His birthday is also this week, and I’ll just have to try and make it extra special. Hmmm, can I get a sweater done in time?

Ribber!

I got a ribber for my 322! Ok, for non-knitters, it’s the equivalent of finding a completely new engine for the 67 Shelby, that’s only been used a bit and is in almost brand new condition. It just needs to be cleaned up, and I will be knitting in tons of texture. Once I figure out how it works.

I’m trying to finish up my lace wrap so that I can get it hooked up. Need to replace the sponge bar, and that will take a day. Clean and oiling, another day. Putting it all together and then let er rip.

This week is going to be busy as well. The twins have their assessments this week and Sebastian’s IEP meeting. On top of that, Hubby’s bd with the twins’ two days later. I’ve missed my original start date for clases. I hope to get them started in two weeks.

Thanks to Stony for a very good deal on my dinosaur.