Archive | June 2015

Moving Trumps Knitting

I can finally reveal why I’ve been absent for the last month: we’re buying a new house and moving! I didn’t want to say anything too early in case something fell through, but we’ve had an inspection, the offer has been signed, so I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve spent the last three weeks going through the house and donating/selling/trashing so much stuff, and now I’m packing. Packing, packing and more packing. It’s going quickly; I’ve got the craft room all packed up, but don’t worry, I left out two WIPs in case I needed emergency knitting. The kids are on their own and the girl is doing well. The boy…well, his room was pretty much a pigsty so he’ll probably need some help soon. The husband is doing some fix-it-up stuff around the house so I’m doing all the packing. Except for all his woodworking tools and stuff. He’s on his own for that.

We’re moving about 20 minutes north of where we are, but it’s getting the kids into an amazing school district with advanced classes and bigger, better programs than they’ve had. That’s the reason we’re moving, really. About a month ago, at the end of the school year, we learned that the school district we’re in is changing the gifted program a bit, making the one gifted class an elective and making all kids take a mainstream reading class. Well, my kids were reading at a 12th-grade level by sixth grade, so that class won’t do much for them. The only advanced class they offer in middle school is math, and no advanced English until 10th grade. That just didn’t sit right with me. A few days after we spoke with someone at the school district, we went to a party with a teacher friend who lives in a nearby town, and she told us their district offers THREE gifted classes (math, science, and English) in middle school. I was amazed. I knew our district had some drawbacks, but I hadn’t realized most of the other nearby districts were offering more. By the next day, I was idly browsing through houses for sale, just pipe-dreaming, I thought. But when I mentioned it to my husband, he said he’d been thinking the same thing for a while. Well. That was all we needed, and we started looking in earnest. We stumbled across this house and fell in love with it, and that part was really easy.

It’s really hard to leave, though, because I was born in this town, lived here all my life except for college, and I love it. My family is all here. I wanted to have faith that this city, and this school district, would get better. I wanted to believe in it.

But I also really want to do better for my kids. I took the girl to meet the new band director and see the facilities, and she was so excited she was practically in tears. It’s just such a big change to go from an older school with less funding to a newer one that can afford a huge band room, one that prides itself on the band enough to put a glass case with trophies and awards in the hallway. Her old band director is trying really hard, and we love him. He’s fantastic. But he’s trying to rebuild a band program that’s suffered the last several years, and that’s a hard, slow process. Band is my daughter’s passion, her gift, her future, so if I can do anything to get her into a strong program, I’ll do it.

And I’m excited about the change. I think I needed something different. We really love the house. It’s big but needs some work. But it has hardwood floors, pocket doors, a finished attic with a full bathroom (the girl is SO excited about that) and a nice big backyard for the puppies. My new craft room is bigger and has three big windows. The house is a 5-minute walk to school for the boy, and he’s so excited to not have to ride the bus anymore. So yeah, we’ll be farther away from my family, but it’s not too far. It’s a short, easy drive. I just might have to try harder to schedule time with them. And that’s totally worth it. Now, I have to go pack some more, but here are some pics of the house.

Dining room

Dining room

Living room

Living room


Sitting room

Sitting room


Craft room

Craft room

My Weekend Adventure

Eleven days! That’s how long it’s been since I posted anything, and it feels like longer. The worst part is that I haven’t even been knitting in that time, or crocheting either! I know, I know. It’s a bad thing. I need to fix it. But you know, it’s summer, and I decided it was a good time to clean out the basement. We’ve lived here for 16 years, the kids have been sticking old toys down there for almost that long, and it’s just getting uncomfortably full. For the last 10 days, I’ve been busy going through boxes and getting rid of stuff left and right. It feels good but it’s hard work too! That’s why I was so glad to take a break this weekend.

See, I have this friend, Rory. I met her on Facebook through a mutual friend, and I discovered her jewelry page first, Kind Spirit Jewelry. We started chatting a bit, I had her make me a special necklace in memory of my dad, and the friendship just grew from there. She’s truly a kindred spirit for me: our circumstances are the same in many ways (SAHM of older kids, creative people, part-time caretakers for moms, lost our dads too soon), we see situations much the same way, we finish each other’s sentences, she’s just…a special person. Kind and loving and supportive and encouraging. I love her.

But. I live in western Missouri and she lives in Ohio. We’re 13 hours apart. That’s not fun. Texting and messaging is great, but not the same as face to face. A couple of months ago, she said she was thinking of coming to visit me. After squealing a bit, I realized it could be easier on her if I met her halfway, plus I’d get the benefit of a little getaway. Halfway was the Chicago area, but neither of us are big city girls, so we found a Hampton Inn in Ottawa, IL. Not much to recommend it, but we just needed a room to house us while we talked.

Of course no road trip is complete without a yarn store, so I did some searching and decided to stop in Milan, IL at the Naked Sheep Yarn Barn. And guess what?? When I got there, I found out the entire store was 50% off!! How cool is that? I was fast and within 15 minutes I had paid and was on my way with these goodies. IMG_2663I got two skeins of Berroco Peruvia wool, two skeins of Plymouth Baby Alpaca Worsted, and one marvelous skein of Scrumptious superwash (hello, Hitchhiker #2!) I was quite delighted.

Anyway, I made it to Ottawa and met up with Rory and it was so so good. It just felt like we were already old friends. There was no awkwardness even though we’d never met before. 2+ years of conversations means you get to know someone pretty well. We got along just as well in person as we did online. We talked, drank a bit, walked around the little downtown, ate too much, laughed a lot, slept too little. It was heavenly. I let the stress of all the stuff at home melt away and just enjoyed the calm, easy friendship. I even got to introduce her to margaritas! (Can you believe she’s never had one before? I couldn’t. But now she knows the joy that is a margarita on the rocks with lots of salt.) She made me a bracelet while we were there, working away while we chatted, and it’s perfect. Iridescent rainbow sparkly beads with a lot of purple, and a heart “friend” charm. IMG_2664Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time, and after only 24 hours together we had to say goodbye and drive our separate ways. I think this was only the first of many meetings. As Rick says in Casablanca, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” IMG_2660

The Hitchhiker is DONE!

IMG_2382_2Now I know why everybody has made one: it’s FABULOUS. The pattern is so simple, but the end result is just stunning. It’s absolutely perfect for variegated yarns, but it would look equally gorgeous in a solid too. I loved knitting this, didn’t get bored or tired of the endless garter stitch. It was perfect TV knitting, and even though Rafa lost (so sad!) I was happy because I finished this!IMG_2380_2 IMG_2381The photos aren’t great, sorry. It’s raining and very wet outside, but someday I’ll get better pictures. I guess I need to paint my craft room so the walls are a better backdrop color. I wanted purple, but maybe I should consider white. Or maybe a very pale gray? That could be cool. Anyway. Love my Hitchhiker. Already perusing my stash to figure out which yarn to use for my next one.

Last night I decided I needed a super-fast instant gratification project, and I wanted to use my new Marblez straight needles. I chose this Leafy Washcloth pattern and it was done within an hour. I wasn’t crazy about it at first. IMG_2383But then I got it wet and stretched and tugged and flattened, and voila, it became a leaf!IMG_2384Mine’s not as dense as the photo, so I think I’ll use smaller needles for the next one. And as much as I love knitted washcloths and dishcloths, there will definitely be a next one. This is a fun, unusual pattern.

Our new sod is enjoying the rain, I think, but the puppies are not. They did get a walk yesterday but Grace still woke up with plenty of energy for mischief. IMG_2376_2
I’ll be going out today to buy a cheap rug for her, and she will be sad because she’s a spoiled little princess who thinks she needs a cushion to sleep on. Well, too bad for her! I’m not giving her anything else that can be torn open and have its innards removed.

Today is the women’s semifinals of the French Open and I think I will work on my black and white chevron scarf. It’s becoming the neverending project! How do the rest of you find the motivation to work on those projects that seem to take forever?

Plodding Along with my Hitchhiker

I have been quiet for the last several days, mostly because I have little to share. I’m still working on my Hitchhiker while I watch the French Open and it’s growing. IMG_2365I’ve got the pattern memorized by now so it’s going faster, and I anticipate much progress being made today when I watch Nadal and Djokovic battle it out.

On a more exciting note, the rain finally stopped long enough for us to get a bit of sod down in the backyard! IMG_2367I say “us” when really it was the husband. He did good work. There wasn’t much sod available; it’s been too wet to harvest or cut or whatever they do. This is a good start, though, and now the goal is to keep the puppies off long enough to let it take root. IMG_2368They’re not crazy about the fence, and both of them have jumped it a couple of times, but they don’t go out unsupervised anymore so we’re able to limit the exposure. Yesterday I took them out for two walks to replace their normal backyard romping, and the plus is that today they are VERY sleepy!

Now it’s time for me to Hitchhike, and with any luck I’ll get to show off a finished project soon!