Knittingdodo’s knit rants

Yarn, Needles, An Extinct Bird……What More Do You Need?

Bad Blogger… June 29, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — knittingdodo @ 8:17 pm

Wow, I’ve been gone for a while, huh? I’m sorry. Life’s been a little rough. But don’t feel too slighted, I’ve not spent much of any time on any of my normal haunts either. I’ve just been too anxious to spend much time on the computer and haven’t really been in the correct mindset to be able to explain to anyone my problem. I guess I’m ready to try now.

Most of you all know that Ron’s job will be dissapearing in a few short months. December will be the absolute last month he can be employed there. So, we’ve been actively searching for a new job for him. That’s not nearly as fun as it sounds.

Here’s the problem. What Ron makes would be ok if we were a two income family and I was making the same. We’d be lower middle class or upper lower class that way. However, I don’t make anything, so we’re just lower class. But, he makes enough that getting an entry level position somewhere would mean a pay cut of at least 3 or 4 dollars an hour. Since we are barely making ends meet now, there’s no way that we could take that kind of cut. Not and eat too. And that’s more upsetting that you’d think because Ron’s been going to school for the past two years to become an AC/heating technician and we’ve found that the starting pay for that is also lower than what he’s making now. Plus, with the economy the way it is, he’d probably just get hired on as seasonal help for the Summer and then let go once the weather cools down. So, we’d be in the same boat as we are now, only poorer.

It’s been frustrating, to say the least. Every where we looked, we found jobs that payed too little, jobs with no garaunteed future, or no jobs available at all. And, as the months went by, we’ve gotten more and more worried about our immediate future.

But, we kept praying, knowing that God has a plan for us and he will provide. And, just a few weeks ago, during the final of Ron’s latest class, a recruter came in and spoke. He said that his company had just gotten the contracts to do all the maintenance work for all the county buildings in ours and the neighboring counties. And he needed to hired all new people to take those positions.

Now, I should tell you that Ron and I have been praying for a better job for him for years, basically every since T was born and I quit mine to care for her. We’ve asked for specific things in that better job that we feel are needed in our life. We knew that God would give us what we really need and not what we thought we’d need, but it couldn’t hurt to ask anyway, right? Well, some of the things we asked for were these: It needed to be a job Ron could be proud of, he needed to be home enough to be able to be a part of his daughter’s lives, it needed to have good enough insurance to cover all of D’s health issues without a bunch of out of pocket expense for us, he needed Sundays off to go to church, and he needed to make enough money so that we could afford to pay all the bills, fix house and cars when needed, be able to have savings, and have a little left over for some fun every now and again…oh and get off WIC, I’d really like to stop relying on the government for milk.

I don’t think any of our requests are too much or selfish. And, even though things in Ron’s job area have gotten better since T was born in 2004,(aside from his plant closing, of course) we still don’t make enough to make it, we’re on WIC, he works all kinds of overtime and misses out on things with the girls, and his company has done things that keep him form being able to be proud of his job.

Now, let’s go back to the recruiter. He needs a decent amount of people to fill the positions. Even though Ron would be hired by this guy’s company, he’d get all the benefits of being a county employee. That means no overtime and no weekends, he’d be off by 5pm every day. Also, he’d get all the county paid holidays, which is a lot, and a decent vacation time. And, he’d get county medical benefits, which would be enough for all of D’s issues. And, perhaps the best part, he’d get prevailing wage. That means he’d get paid at the top of the pay scale for the work, instead of the bottom like most companies.

Now, there are two types of positions available, a generic worker and a site supervisor. The generic worker position’s pay starts at $4 an hour more than what Ron is making now. That would really help. It would mean no more WIC, for sure. You know how good it’ll feel to make too much to qualify for WIC?

But, here’s he thing. The supervisor position, which is basically what Ron does now on a smaller scale, pays double what Ron is making now. Can you imagine just doubling your income in one day?

Even though we’ve tried not to get emotionally tied to this job, we’ve had to wait for weeks for the process to get started. Ron has sent in his resume about two weeks ago, and should get a call some time this week or early next about an interview. That means that for the past few weeks, we’ve had nothing to do but think about all the stuff we could do with that extra money. If he got the supervisor position, we could finally get all that work done on the cars that we’ve had to put off forever. We’d be able to fix up all that problems that we have in our house. When there is virtually nothing left after the bills are paid, house improvements get set aside for a long, long time. In fact, there is a decent size hole in my bathroom wall from when Ron had to work on the pipes that has been there for about 3 years. It’s covered with a white plastic garbage bag that does nothing to make it more asthetically pleasing, let me assure you.

And, not only that, we’d be able to get some of the fun things that we never get. Ron would love a new guitar. The ones he has are alright, but he’d love a quality one. I’d love to be able to get a sweater’s worth of yarn for once. That’s one of the reasons I knit socks so much. I can get the yarn so much cheaper, especially since I only buy it on sale. And, we’d be able to take the girls for a day out when we wanted to, not after we’d scrimped and saved for months.

So, we’d like to think that this job is a God send and that it’s God’s answer to all our prayers over the years. But, what if it isn’t and we are just rationalizing it to be? I’m trying to prepare myself for Ron not geting the job, and the closer we get to him finding out, the more anxiety I get. If he doesn’t get this job, what other options are there?

So, pray for us, if you would. That Ron might get this job or, if not, that another opportunity would open itself to us.

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Oh, and in case you were worried, I’ve been knitting even if I haven’t been blogging. In fact, I have at least three FO posts that I hope to get out this week for you. I’m going to try to get back into the blogging thing. I’ve missed you guys and am looking forward to sharing the stuff I’ve been working on.

Talk at you later!

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Because I’m A Lemming… June 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — knittingdodo @ 6:36 pm

There have been a few of my fellow bloggers who have been showing off their ink. Don’t believe me? Well, go check out Pam and Carole’s blogs.

Well, it got me thinking maybe I could get away with a post showing off my work. I know that you’ve caught glimpses when I’ve modeled a sock, but maybe you might enjoy the full catalog.
(If you don’t like tattoos, feel free to skip this post. I promise it won’t have any knitting in it and I won’t feel hurt if you don’t read. I understand.) If you do like tattoos and are planning to read on, let me warn you that this is a pretty picture heavy post. I have 14 tattoos, so…

On with the show!

I figured I’d do things chronologically. So here is my very first tattoo, which I got shortly after my 20th birthday way back in 1997. I got the cross on my ankle in an effort to somewhat appease my folks. They weren’t too keen on the whole tattoo idea, and I thought a cross might help them deal. I doubt it worked. ;o)

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Secondly, we have the Celtic knot on my upper right arm. This is a perfect example of how you need to stick with your original plan, and not change your mind in the artist’s chair. I originally wanted a little quarter sized design right at the very top of my arm, almost on my shoulder. But, when I got into the chair, he told me all the sizes he’d copied were the same price. So I went twice as big and lower. While I like the work, I’ve always thought it was a little too sailor-y and not quite feminine. I still haven’t come up with a solution to the dilema, and I’ve had the tattoo since 97.

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Number 3 was also done while I lived in Alaska, like number 2. I made the mistake of showing it to my parents the night I came home and my mom didn’t talk to me for about a week. While we worked it all out, she still hates this tattoo and I plan to have it covered up when I can afford it. Just as a courtesy to her. This is on the inside of my left ankle.

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After that, I got the worst tattoo ever. Well, the tattoo wouldn’t be bad, but the artist was terrible. It’s on the small of my back and is supposed to be the chinese symbol for monkey. However, it’s basically a black blob. The artist dug too deep and so it’s all puffy and ugly. Let’s just say that I’m glad it’s on my back where it doesn’t show.

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I know the picture is fuzzy, but, trust me, it doesn’t look any better in real life.

Number 5 was an interesting design. It’s on the back of my left ankle.

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Number 6 is a fairy. I love me some fairies. You’ll notice that most of my tattoos are a bit small. That was because I’ve been poor most of my life. I couldn’t come up with the cash needed to get the really big ones, so I did my ankle work in pieces. It’s still not done, but having children has made me even poorer. Someday I might get it all finished. This first fairy is a perfect example of where I needed to get the tattoo a bit bigger to get all the great detail. It’s still pretty, but…Anyway, this is on the outside of my right ankle.

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And I got number 7 by the same artist. It’s a hummingbird on the front of my left ankle. Can you picture that? I have on the one ankle, at each of the four points, a cross, hummingbird, yin yang, and design. I wanted to make it a solid piece made up of all these little tattoos.

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Number 8 is the top of the montage of my left ankle. This was the first done by a young man named Craig. Craig has done the rest of my work from this point on. This goes all the way around my ankle.

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Number 9 is one of my favorites. Of course it is, it’s a fairy! This is on the inside of my right ankle, opposite of my other fairy.

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And I love number 10 too. Actually, number 10 started out as just a gray bunny on the side of my right calf. It was very boring and not well done. A few years after I got it, I had Craig pretty it up. And here’s what he did with it.

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Number 11, though, is my pride and joy. I got this as a present for my 25th birthday from my brother in 2002. I got it right when foot tattoos stopped being taboo, but before they were trendy.

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When I get some cash, I think I will have it touched up and make the flowers brighter colors. I need bright. The vines continue up my ankle, kind of wrapping around my other work. You can see that in some of the other pictures.

Numbers 12 and 13 are two big flowers that craig added shortly after I got my foot done. They were inteded to close off the bottom of my ankle piece and therefore give the impression of one big piece of work. I don’t think the effect was reached, however, and I plan to eventually get it all filled in with pretty stuff.

This on is on the backish part of my ankle, and I think it’s very pretty.

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This one is on the frontish part and reminds me of Two-ey form Little Shop Of Horrors.

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Since 2002, I’ve only gotten one other tattoo, and that’s a small star on my shoulder. My best friend, Erin, and I got these 3 or 4 years ago to signify our rather long friendship. (we’ve been BeFris since I was 5) It’s nothing special to look at, but it means a lot to me.

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Sorry for the bad picture, it’s hard to get a shot of your shoulder!

So, that’s it, all my ink. It may seem like a lot, but since most of it is in one spot, I still have a lot of clean space. One day, when we are independantly wealthy, I plan to get more done and some of it touched up, but….well, that’s propbably gonna be a long time from now.

So, I hope I didn’t bore you. If so, I’m sorry, how ’bout a picture of my new haircut?

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Man, I look tired! Kid’s will do that to you.

 

On Why I Might Be Rockin’ Awesome… June 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — knittingdodo @ 4:24 pm

I’m making myself a monkey. Wait, that sounds wrong, I’m not making a monkey out of myself, I’m making a monkey for myself.

A sock yarn monkey, to be precise.

And it will be a traveling monkey, going off to see the world via the houses of other kitters. I think it’ll be grand fun.

But, before I can send my monkey off into the great unknown, I have to make it. And that’s what I’ve been working on for the past week or so. And that’s the reason I think I might be rockin’ awesome.

When I went looking for a pattern, I ran into 3 problems:
1. None of the patterns I found were written for sock yarn, they were most all for worsted.
2. I didn’t care for way the monkey looked in many of the patterns. The few that I did like were uber expensive, and I have a hard time spending that kind of money on something I could figure out on my own.
3. I didn’t like the construction of the monkey in many of the patterns. They were basically cones that you sewed arms, ears and a mouth to. Some of them didn’t even have a proper derier.

So, I took all of that into account, and decided to try to make my own monkey. Now, I haven’t been doing it totally blind, I am using this pattern by Rebecca Zelt for a reference. But, I’ve mainly only used it for starting the butt and finishing the head.

But, you are wondering to yourself, why the awesomeness? Well, it’s because of this:

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It’s kind of hard to see, but that is my monkey’s original butt. I’m sorry for the icky pictures, but I was at Mom’s and only had my cell with me.

So, my monkey’s butt…I made it too….um, long, I guess is what you’d call it. My monkey had a little too much junk in his trunk.

The error was that I knew I needed to do a short row heel, but I didn’t know how many stitches to wrap on each side. I left 11 stitches unwrapped and that was the wrong amount. I discovered I should have left, like, 19 unwrapped. But, I couldn’t tell that it was funky until I was well on into the back.

That’s not entirely true. I had my suspisions while I was finishing up the butt, but I thought maybe it was just me. Then, when I started working up the back, I though maybe the thing just needed to be stuffed.

Yeah, I was in denial for quite awhile. And, when I finally admitted that I needed to fix the posterier of my monkey, I was so far up the back that I was almost ready for the arms. I wasn’t about to rip all the way back, so I came up with another solution.

First, I found where I thought the butt should really end and I picked up those stitches.

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See all that that I’m having to take out? Yeah, I definately messed up this poor monkey butt.

Anyway, after I picked up the stitches on both sides, I went ahead and cut the yarn.

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And started unravelling. This part was fairly easy. I made sure to cut at the top, so that I could jut pull the end and have it all come out nice and easy. After I got it all ripped out, all that was left was to kitchner it up.

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I had quite a few more stitches than a normal sock toe, and I had my children inturupting me every few minutes. But I’ve done enough sock toes now that I was able to keep my place throughout the whole ordeal. And that landed me with this:

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Now, isn’t that a much better looking posterier? I think so. And, while I realize that what I did wasn’t anything really, truly difficult, I’m pretty proud of myself that I was able to identify the problem, identify the solution, and execute the solution all on my own. I’m getting pretty good at this whole knitting thing, I think.

What’s become of the monkey now? Well, I’ve finshed up his main body and head. I haven’t sewn up the top of his head yet, I still need to stuff the rest of him. Instead of sewing on a mouth, I went ahead and just did another short row heel. I learned my lesson this time and made it look right the first time, though. And I’m currently picking up the stitches and knitting the arms. That’s another change from the patterns I saw. They were all about knitting the arms separately and then sewing them on. I don’t like that look, so I’m doing it my way. I may knit the tail separatly, though, I haven’t quite decided yet. I want it to be long and so I’m weighing the annoyance factors of having to knit 15 inches attached to the monkey or having to stuff the tail and then sew it on. I’m not sure which one I like the least yet.

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Anyway, happy Monday, everyone!!!

 

FO: Sock For My Eldest Girl June 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — knittingdodo @ 6:05 pm

I think I’m just going to have to stop apologizing for my week long dissapearances. Just know that if I’m gone for more than a few days, one of my kids is sick or something. :o)

So, I’ve finished T’s socks. I guess she likes them.  She didn’t take them off for more than a minute in three days. In fact, I had to sneak them away so that I can wash them. She’s in love with them, I tell you, which makes me feel good….but it’s ruining the socks. I know now not to pay too much for sock yarn for her. She’s just too hard on socks. But, she loves socks so much, I’m going to have to make her dozens of pairs.

Thankfully, I have a gazillion partial skeins that have been donated to my sock yarn blanket. Many of them are almost full skeins, plenty to make a few squares and socks for T. And, I won’t have to feel bad about her ruining them because I didn’t spend any money on the yarn.

It’s still a bit of a sting, though, to see her mess up something I worked hours on. But, I know it’s love,so that makes up for it.

Without futher ado, here they are.

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You must excuse the the fuzzyness of these pictures, it’s very hard for a four year old to hold still, you know. But she did have fun posing for the pictures…

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Project: Opal Kid’s Socks by Sharon “Soxie” Philbrick
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces in Happy Valley
Needles: Size US 1 ML
Date Started: May 1, 2009
Date Completed: May 29, 2009

I don’t think I’ll make this pattern again. I was dead easy, don’t get me wrong, but it makes the socks too stretchy and they’re a bit of an ill fit for T’s skinny feet. I think that next time, I’ll stick to stockinette.

 

(While I was spell checking this post, T came up and saw the pictures and immediately asked where the “sock you knit for me” were.  It’s a good thing they’re already in the washer, huh?)