Breaking My Mid-Winter Blues

With our oldest child in kindergarten, we still haven’t gotten into the swing of planning-out trips to coincide with school breaks and it was only a week ago that I learned we have Mid-Winter Break this week (well, I’ve had a bit on my mind with my husband Alex and I fighting the crud-that-wouldn’t-end, or I guess it’s the flu, for weeks now).  With this crud stuff having knocked me down, along with a host of other issues, including an adrenal gland that’s down for the count, I have not been looking forward to this break—I mean, what to do with two kids who have nothing better to do than fight over the shopping cart at Whole Foods?  Although, I admit it’s damn sure nice not to have to wake up in the wee hours to play drill sargent to a sleepy six-year old so that we can hike the quarter-mile walk uphill in chilly torrential rain to catch the school bus every morning.  But when it comes to the showdown at Whole Foods today—there was screaming involved and it wasn’t I—even sleeping-in an hour doesn’t make it worth it.  However—

On the bright side, I had a great delivery arrive on my front doorstep during my darkest hour, and for a moment I heard the angels sing.  It was my very own copy of Ami Ami Dogs:  Seriously Cute Crochet by Mitsuki Hoshi fully and gloriously translated into English!  What a way to brighten my day.

Thank you, Harper Collins for getting on the ball and for catching-on to a trend and translating a Japanese craft book in its entirety and doing it justice, right down to the softcover and the great photos, just as Hello, My Name is Amineko was translated and published by Creative Publishing International in 2010.

Front cover flap.

Instructive photos.

Same pattern instructions and graphics.

Not sure if you want buy the book?  Visit Harper Collins web page for this book, click on “Extras” and download free instructions to make your very own mini-Welsh Corgi.

I’m looking forward to buying a translated copy of another of Mistuki Hoshi’s books Ami Ami Dogs 2:  More Seriously Cute Crochet set for release in August 2011, the Japanese version of which I’ve seen in Kinokuniya and it has even more cute dogs to crochet.

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Wild Ride

If Jacob’s Delight were a novel, it would be an epic. Such twists and turns, such drama, such joy. Maybe that’s overstatement. You see, I’ve made cardigans and sweaters using top-down, sleeve-to-sleeve, and bottom-up methods, but never anything like that of Jacob’s Delight and it makes for a wild ride. Overall, the coat is knit cuff-to-cuff, but it’s not that simple. It starts at the left cuff, works up the left sleeve, then divides the stitches with half to a stitch holder and the other half worked and added onto to make the front left panel, binding-off after the buttonband. Then we go back to the saved stitches at middle upper arm and cast-on additional stitches to work on the left back, and from there to complete the back all the way to the right side, and then down the length of the right sleeve, pick up saved right upper arm stitches and complete the right front, ending at the right buttonband. Got that? Oh, and the pockets are cast on as you go around the sweater, with the cast-ons put on stitch holders to be worked at the end. There will be seams of about 8″ long running lengthwise from the middle upper arm to the shoulder to sew-up later, and the collar and the hem border along the bottom will be pick-up and added on at the end.

Completed left front, left sleeve, and beginning of left back.

I tried reading ahead before I started, but just couldn’t grasp how it was supposed to go, and now that I’m almost done with the left side, I am amazed that anyone could come up with such configuration. It has to be just about the most entertainment I’ve had in a long time, and it’s entirely doable, but just very, very different. It certainly dusts the cobwebs off my brain. I just can’t imagine how anyone would come up with such a configuration, but then that’s probably why I don’t design sweater patterns.

To top off last week’s mayhem in my life, I ended-up with a nasty case of Pink Eye in both eyes. I’d never had it before and it never occurred to me that that’s what I had, so I went most of last week with my eyes in a miserable state until a friend who works for an opthamologist told me I had pinkeye. I learned a few things about this highly contagious ailment: that you don’t just catch it from other people, but you can also develop it from being sick (as I did), that high doses of vitamin C (2,000-4,000 mg) throughout the day reduce the intensity and aid with healing, and that very warm compresses also alleviate the symptoms (thanks to my ever so handy Prescription for Nutritional Healing book for these at-home solutions). That Thursday night after my friend’s observations, I had 1,000 mg. vitamin C (Emergen-C), and put very warm compresses on each eye; these two things reduced the pain and blurriness sufficiently. I finished-off sleeping with a wet compress on my eyes that night to keep my eyes from pasting shut, which wasn’t easy because I that compress got cold at night, but I just couldn’t stand my eyes being crusty one more morning.  I was glad to get started on optical antibiotics the next day.

Switcheroo

I’m making progress on Jacob’s Delight, but not as quickly as I’d hoped. Time is at a premium, and these days knitting time is shrinking.

Soon after starting with Lamb’s Pride, I just couldn’t stand how bright it looked, so I made my latest change to the color scheme, swapping-out the orange (Lamb’s Pride Autumn Harvest) for Lamb’s Pride Bittersweet and I sighed a sigh of relief. I just can’t fathom walking around in something that is really bright, you know? I mean it was looking downright collegiate, and I don’t want to play favorites. I could hear myself say, “These two colors together look like University of Washington colors and these two together look like University of Michigan colors, and…” I just couldn’t stand it. It doesn’t matter what college I went to, or whatever, I just didn’t want to feel like a walking sports booster. I’ve seen enough of that stuff in my years of work with a collegiate licensing department and I just don’t want to go there in my knitting. So, out went the orange and in went Bittersweet to tone it down.

Before the switch.

After the switch.

Rather than ripping back what I’d done, I just removed the offending orange and replaced the now vacant stitches with the new color using an embroidery needle.  I’m sure there’s some technical term for doing this out there, and if you know what it is, let me know.

This whole issue of bright colors wouldn’t be a problem if Lamb’s Pride were produced in more natural colors, like more heathers and such, because I like the yarn, but I just want a better range of colors to choose from. Anyway, now I feel better, and I think I can live with my color choices pretty well…although there is that bright yellow I’d like to tone down….

I’ve been having fun lately in my real life.  Let’s see…. Sunday we got a fraud notice on our primary charge card, so we shut it down.   Monday I discovered a sizable puncture to one of my car’s tires; it was so big that when I got out of the car I could hear it blowing out and by the time my daughter and I made it to a tire repair place (4 miles away) the tire was completely flat and we missed her Kindermusik class, to boot.  Today in downtown Seattle, Pioneer Square, without my handy VISA credit card (because of fraud) I found that paying for parking was practically impossible, plus I had only $10 on me in the form of two $5 bills, so I couldn’t even use a city parking machine; I finally found a manned garage that would take my American Express and arrived for my appointment 30-minutes late, but not before my open purse flopped out of the open car door at one point and into a 2″-deep disgustingly black puddle of God-knows-what kind of city skum in a Pioneer Square street (I wiped it down with anti-bacteria wipes), losing only a stick of lipstick.

On the plus side, after my appointment I followed the lunchtime crowd to Hole in the Wall BBQ on James between 2nd and 3rd and had a nice bowl of chili to make up for all the nastiness.