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Too pooped to purl…

B-tch, whine, moan, complain.

Wow.  Just wow.  What a weekend!  Here in Tennessee, the K-12 kids go back to school for the new academic year sometime between the last week in July and the middle of August.  My younger son’s school system returns to class this coming Thursday, August 13.  The first weekend in August each year is a Tennessee state sales tax holiday for items that students need most – clothing, shoes, school supplies, and computers.  There are some limits to what you can buy tax-free, but in general, most basic items that a K-12 or college kid would need are free of sales tax from Friday through Sunday.  To coincide with this, the retailers offer some pretty good sales most years.  This is a now-honored tradition in my household because saving the 9%+ sales tax on the annual horror of back-to-school shopping is nothing to sneeze at!

So, first thing Saturday morning, we saddled up with the younger son and off we went to purchase clothes & school supplies.  Armed with the knowledge that the boy grew about 2-3 inches over the summer and also with the mandated supply list for 8th grade, we stopped first at Kohl’s here in Spring Hill.  For $68, we obtained an arm-full of great shirts – two layered plaid sport shirts with t-shirts underneath, a “Hawaiian” style shirt,  a basic golf shirt, and a couple of nice t-shirts.  There was no way, however, that I was going to pay $21-$35 for a pair of jeans with the rate he’s growing.  Plus, he’s a picky little cuss, and actually prefers one of the house brands at Wally-World, Faded Glory.  So, our next stop was to visit Wally for jeans and supplies.  For the boy, we got 4 pairs of jeans, a pair of cargo pants, more t-shirts, socks and underwear, plus most of the school supplies and a couple of pairs of jeans and t-shirts for the husband for just $142 (eek!).  The final stop was Staples for the rest of the school supplies and some household office stuff at yet another $40.  Oh, and a quick jaunt to Sears for husband’s underwear (he’s picky about those) for another $20-ish.  Yeesh.

All of this was in addition the cash drop in Thursday for the school itself – school fees ($58), the school-mandated agenda/planner ($5), the obligatory school t-shirt ($10) and the cost of the first field trip of the year ($25).  Oy vey.  I was drop-dead exhausted from this, and ready to just be a vegetable, playing on Ravelry and/or Facebook, and do a little knitting.  And, although we spent a lot, we got good bargains and feel good about having gotten value for our money (except that school fee, that one just burns me – I already pay property taxes to fund things like workbooks and reading material for my kid!).

Sadly, almost as soon as we got home, my kids presented me with the understanding that we had problems with our “family” computer in the living room.  Sigh No one in my house is much of a geeky computer type.  We use ‘em, but we don’t fully understand ‘em.  Still, since I’ve worked around technology for so long, I am the closest to being a geek.  So when there’s a problem, everyone hollers for Mom!

So off I went to investigate.  What a mess – the computer had some awful virus or something that completely messed up the file associations, so that no applications or shortcuts would do anything but present an error message asking whether a search of the web for an appropriate application with which to open should be done.  OMf-ingG – what a pain in the butt seven hours later, I had managed to restore some of the functionality and removed a nasty Trojan virus, but some other things still weren’t working properly.  I could not find any answers on the internet for the final problems, and so, decided that I would have to do a “restore” back to factory settings on Sunday.

In conversation about all of this, Husband and I decided that the time had come to obtain an external hard drive, onto which we could transfer all photos, music from owned CDs, important document files (like our saved tax return PDFs), etc., and also maintain monthly or weekly back-ups for the computers in the household.  Between that and regular grocery shopping, Sunday was another expensive and exhausting day.  All of the stores were just mad-houses – almost as bad as Black Friday.  Retailers had some great sale items/discounts/coupons, so it was crazy – parking was awful, check-out lines a mile long, people questioning the price of every item (“No, no – those plastic binders are supposed to be 50 cents each, why are 15 of them coming up to $27.50?! … What do you mean, there’s a limit of 5 per purchase?! {more arguing ensues while the line gets even longer}…Fine, then ring them up as three separate purchases of 5 binders each.  Right now!!”).

Ugh.  It was 6 hours before we got back home.  And I was, again, totally exhausted, but still had to do the factory restore on the computer.  Ugh.  Got it done, took forever, but I think I did it wrong.  The OS and most settings were definitely re-set (120+ updates from Microsoft, thank you very little!!), but most of our added applications and all of our documents/pictures/etc. (which I had backed up to a USB drive) were still intact – or, at least, still there.  Didn’t run, but the files were still there.  The kiddo reinstalled them, and now they work fine.  Weird.  I would do it again, straight from the restore disks I created when we bought it, but I think I’d collapse in exhaustion, and my younger son would probably cry for a week.  LOL!

I entered the weekend by casting on the sleeve of a 3-6 months size cardigan.  I left the weekend with ¾” of ribbing started on the other sleeve.  Since there is a delivery deadline for this item, and I’d really like to make a hat to go with it, I’m hoping I’ll have more success during the week!  Thinking that I would get more knitting done this weekend, I did go to Joann to buy “cute buttons” for this baby sweater.  I made an interesting discovery.  The ‘cute buttons are neither washable, nor child-safe.  This made my temper flare more than a little bit – I mean, what person over the age of 12 would want to wear buttons shaped like a tractor, a teddy bear, kitty/puppy or a baby block?!  About 15 minutes in to my search, I suddenly had an epiphany that should have occurred before I entered the store:  buttoning up baby garments is a pain in the butt in the best of situations.  I realized then that there is no fun and even less success to be had in trying to fasten oddly-shaped “cute buttons”  on a wiggling, squirming, flailing and possibly-crying baby!  If I were the Mom, knowing what I know now, I would just as soon have plain round buttons that don’t fight about being fastened.  So, that’s what I got.  They aren’t cute, but they are colorful & highly functional, which is much more important to me!

So my weekend wasn’t at all relaxing, now it’s Monday, I’m back at work, and I’m still too pooped to purl!

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Bone-headed bungle bites this bimbo in the butt (accidental frogging)…

I made the most bone-headed bungle of my entire knitting (or crocheting!) life this weekend.

I’ve been working on fingerless mitts I’m improvising from DROPS Alpaca that I picked up on close-out sale. It’s a soft blue that is the perfect color to go with my winter jacket (ski style). I completed one, even managed to improvise a thumb for it (rather than my usual gaping hole where a thumb ought to be), and it was absolutely beautiful. Lacy, but not so much that it sacrificed warmth. I made a 2nd one. Sadly, it didn’t match the first one, despite my best efforts. It was, perhaps, a row or two too long in the hand area, and a lace repeat to long on the thumb. And I only discovered this problem after I had woven in all of the ends. Growl! But that’s not the bone-headed part.

I decided that I liked the longer mitt/longer thumb, and so would frog the thumb on the first mitt and make it longer, and then maybe also add another row or two of ribbing at the top of it. I started with ripping the thumb, and frogged way too far. I did not figure out why the yarn wouldn’t come “un-done” all the way until I had half-way frogged out the increases that are in the middle of rounds in the middle of the length of the mitt. Oy vey! My only excuse was that I was pretty ticked off at almost my entire family at the time, hence, rather distracted. Don’t ask, not airing that dirty laundry here. Anyway I made what can only be called A Huge Mess of my perfectly lovely mitt. So, now I had to frog the whole thing.

I sat down to do that this evening, after a rather fraught day (again, don’t ask, same crap as above, different day). The husband, younger son and in-laws were all in the living room watching Jeff Dunham‘s Christmas special on DVD (just bought it today). And I was paying not enough attention to my frogging, due to a mixture of entertaining snippets in the Dunham special and my own inertia from my fraught weekend. So, I snipped the ending of the yarn out, and attempted to frog the mitt. Only, about 1.5″ in to frogging, I suddenly realized that I was frogging the wrong damned mitt! That’s right. I frogged the GOOD mitt. I can’t believe I did this. I saved the yarn, of course, it’s wound up, using my ball winder and ready to be re-knitted. I managed to rescue my stitches (plus a few extra, as I must have ripped down to a lace row, not a knit row), but it’s going to be a bit messy to get this back on track. 😦

Once I saw my error, got over the impulse to beat my head against the wall, and sat down to frog the correct mitt, things still did not go all that smoothly. I broke the yarn in one spot, trying to untangle it from itself. Managed to spit-splice that back together, but the yarn became hopelessly tangled once I started ripping around the part where I had screwed up ripping out the thumb. You would think that these long strands of floating yarn (ripped from the middle of a round, as noted above) would make the act of frogging easier. Not so. Huge knotty mess.

I give up. Obviously time to find something else to knit. But they were so pretty! Well, maybe tomorrow will bring my brain back into my head and I’ll be able to (a) finish frogging and (b) start over. 😦

On the “up side” (maybe), we did finish holiday shopping for 20 year old son this weekend, I got a little start on husband, and we thought we had finished the 13 year old son, but, as it turns out, the big/main gift we got him is something he’s decided he doesn’t really want. So back to the store it went to day. Unfortunately, I can’t really afford the thing he *does* want. So not sure where I’ll go with that. I think husband may finally have gotten my less-than-subtle hints about shopping on-line at Knit Picks (knitting books are generally a dead-on bargain from KP, and Harmony are my personal preference in DPNs…) and placed an order tonight. Or not. Hard to tell with him. I guess I’ll find out for sure when I open my gifts. Of course, husband knows that I know his password and username on KP’s website, since I set the account up for him in order to arrange an order for my birthday earlier this year. And I’m not particularly patient, so it’s going to take a lot of willpower for me to resist logging in to his account. 🙂

 

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Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming…

I’ve yapped about work and family, I’ve yapped about the election.  Time to get back to knitting. 

My tank of one color (using Berocco pattern, “Tank of Many Colors”, but knitting in Cascade Cotton Rich DK) is going fairly well so far.  I thought I had messed up the length between the decrease rows, which is supposed to be 1″, and looked like I went to 1.5″ between decrease 1 and decrease 2, but on re-measuring after another decrease, it really is 1″.  Phew!  It looks really nice so far, I’ll have to get a picture of it to post soon.  Meanwhile, my spiral-rib wristers are almost finished, but the thumb opening on the 2nd one is too large, so I’ll probably have to fudge that and seam it to match the first one.  I am just NOT ripping it back – the Misti Alpaca worsted is getting a bit fuzzy just from handling, so I can’t even imagine what would happen if I frogged it back 3″ and worked the yarn again.

I stopped by my LYS (Threaded Bliss in Brentwood TN) this afternoon, after getting tires for my SUV (oh, what fun!) and picked up an extra couple of hanks of the Cotton Rich DK for my tank, just in case – I should be able to get it done in 800+ yards, but I’m not as small a woman as I used to be, so I wanted to be safe.  If I have to much, I’ll just knit a little bag to match the tank or a neck scarf or something. 

Meanwhile, the balance of my tax refund is burning a hole in my knitting bag, and I’m really wanting to order more yarn.  I don’t understand why I want to stash yarn so much, I never used to be this way with craft things.  I’ve always been a buy-as-you-go type, but it’s so hard to resist bargain yarns.  🙂

Well, time for sleep now.  Tomorrow is another day of shopping – this time, for groceries and other such household needs (unfortunately!!), and then do the laundry and maybe even clean the house some.  🙂  It won’t be any fun, but the LYSs aren’t open on Sundays, more’s the pity, so I guess it doesn’t matter…

 

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Musings for a Saturday morning

Why the vague title, you ask, well, I have, oh, lots of little things to say, but not one particular thought I wish to expound upon for more than a few sentences.  So…

I took the day off from work to relax and recharge, so I got brave on Thursday night,  grabbed a Benadryl and a friend who knits, and popped off to the LYS for the sit and knit.  Sadly, that LYS is our closest one and it’s probably a good 25 minute drive on the freeway.  In a typical stroke of my fortune, we made good time and had free-moving traffic all the way up the freeway until we got to within about 1 mile of the Old Hickory Blvd. exit, where we wanted to leave the freeway.  There, it stopped dead, due to some 6 cars in an accident.  Ick.  The sit and knit was sort of fun.  Since we’d never been to one before, we weren’t what you would call real talkative or popular, but it was nice.  Plus, since it was Valentine’s Day, the shop had a 20% off sale on any yarn with pink or red in it.  So, I just had to add to the stash I wasn’t going to build and get 6 more skeins of Cascade Cotton Rich DK in Rose Shadow, a pretty pink for spring and summer.  🙂

Rambling on…spring training for baseball is finally starting – woo hoo!  It’s been a long and dull off-season, really, since neither of my fave teams did a whole lot in terms of trades or free agent signings – a little, but not a lot.  Diamondbacks look like they’ve got a really good rotation this year, and combining that with the core of young position players already on staff, I think that they will do very well this year.  Joe Torre as the Dodgers’ manager makes things a bit more interesting in the NL West, but Joe is no more unbeatable than any other baseball manager, as the NY Yankees of the 2000’s have proven.  Red Sox didn’t do a lot either, and I think that their rotation is going to be more interesting this year, what with Schilling out resting up his shoulder.

Even though I had the day off yesterday, with which my friend and I checked out a different yarn shop we’d not been to before, it wasn’t my best day knitting.  I was starting a sleeveless top out of the pink yarn noted above, and couldn’t seem to keep my k2 p2 rib straight, which is frustrating.  I frogged once (started over) and had to tink, tink, tink (un-knit) at least two other times before it seemed to be correct.  At that point, I realized I didn’t like the cotton yarn on that size needle and in a rib.  So now I don’t know what I will do with that yarn.  I put it aside and picked up the alpaca wristers I’m making for another friend.  I had already frogged that back several rows this week due to the pattern (spiral rib) being off.  Very weird – I’m actually very good and usually quite rhythmic with ribbing.  Sigh.  Just not my week, I guess, because I wound up frogging back everything I had done since my last frogging and trying again.  With a couple of small episodes of tink, that one seems to be back on track, too, but a little fuzzy from multiple times the yarn was knitted.

And now, we come to Saturday, a day which in my household usually means a whirlwind of errands, but I don’t have any in mind.  Hubby might, but I don’t.  I really don’t even want to do that today – I would just as soon just go get a quickie haircut, have a fill-in done on my acrylic nails, but otherwise just veg out on the couch, knitting and listening to whatever silly show happens to be on the TV…won’t happen, though, something always comes up.  Hubby was itching about the fact that we didn’t have anything planned last night.  He’ll want to go somewhere and do something for the better part of the day, and then, sometime later, he’ll be grumpy that he never gets any time to just relax.  Ah, men!  Gotta love ’em!  At any rate, as long as hubby does the driving, I can still knit, so I will survive what ever he chooses to do.  Tee hee…

 

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