Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Simple Handspun Toddler Hat

First, hand spin some beautiful fiber on a drop spindle....poorly. Your first time spinning is the perfect opportunity to use this pattern. Be sure it's a single ply thick and thin (by default, 'cause this spinning thing is harder than it looks). Be sure to attempt to set the twist. Fail miserably.

Got it? Great!

Now, cast on 60. Or a multiple of 6 on size US8 double pointed needles to fit the head of the hat recipient. Be sure it's a child. A young one. Think back to your first memory. How old were you? Great. Now make sure the child getting your hat is younger than that. We want to make sure they won't remember the ridicule of wearing your first spinning attempt.

Divide onto 3 needles (20 stitches on each).

Join in the round, taking care not to twist the stitches. There's enough twist in the yarn. We don't need more twists. Trust me on this one.

K1, P1 rib for 6 rows.

Continue in stockinette for 20 or so rows.

Begin decreasing 6 stitches per row.

Dec. Row 1: k8, k2tog around (54) Dec. Row 2: k7, k2tog around (48)
Dec. Row 3: k6, k2tog around (42)
Dec. Row 4: k5, k2tog around (36)
Dec. Row 5: k4, k2tog around (30)
Dec. Row 6: k3, k2tog around (24)
Dec. Row 7: k2, k2tog around (18)
Dec. Row 8: k2, k2tog around (12)
Dec. Row 9: k1, k2tog around (6)

Pull yarn through remaining loops and pull closed. Secure.

Have leftover handspun? Try crocheting or knitting a flower to accent the hat.


Back when I was pregnant with Baby Sister, I picked up a drop spindle and some fiber from my favorite LYS (Athena Fibers). Well, quite frankly, I didn't get very far.

Now I've picked it back up and something has "clicked." I think I'm *finally* getting it. I've made a hat! Pattern forthcoming...

Big Girl Bed!

Baby Sister Yarnworks is now officially a "Big Girl." I guess she'll need a new name soon!

Out with the crib. In with the bed!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Giving Thanks....

We postponed our festivities until yesterday due to illnesses running rampant, but we managed to have an excellent feast anyway.

Mr. Yarnworks is still in Mississippi mobilizing to head over to Iraq, so the day was spent with friends. I have better pictures, but I feel this one best depicts the meal. G* finally getting her appetite back after being out of action for awhile. J* quietly enjoying her vegetarian fare. Big Sister licking her finger (or her plate or her sister's finger or plate). The gentleman is a new friend of G's that I just met yesterday. Very cool guy. He even did the dishes after the meal! I keep inviting him over to my house, but somehow he thinks Mr. Yarnworks might take issue with that. *sigh* Meanwhile, Baby Yarnworks was napping, which altogether made the meal more enjoyable. She joined us towards dessert. She LOVES pumpkin pie!

The girls with full bellies...

One day Big Sister will look at the camera. :)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday

What do you do when you don't feel like battling crowds on Black Friday???

You buy yarn and stitch markers for your winter knitting!

JL Yarnworks will be adding these beauties (and more!) throughout the day. Get your items quickly before they sell! Stop back to add to your shipment. If you purchase multiple items throughout the day, I will send you a revised invoice combining shipping or will refund the difference.

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

When It Rains, It Pours

It's been an exceptionally long 2 months since I last posted. I feel I owe you all an explanation, but I feel like I need to refer to a calendar to be thorough. So much has happened.

Let's start with the happy news, shall we? First, I launched a new product line to go with Cat Bordhi's new book. Then, this product line got some great reviews from Wendy Knits and Judy Becker (of Magic Cast-On fame). The next thing I knew, I had more orders than I could dream of! I sold something like 250 sets in one week! Wild! I loved every second of it, but was relieved when I had time to sit down with my kids again. And was exceptionally grateful to these fine ladies for their kind words, as they have helped pad my business account so that I can launch some new products! I can't wait to show you what's been on the drawing board.

As sales began to dwindle back down to normal, I finally had a chance to catch my breath. But it wasn't long before bad news struck.

On September 28th, I got a call from my mother. My dad was in the hospital. No news about his condition, but we've been worried about him for awhile. I saw him last July when he came for a 2 night visit. Here he is with the munchkins at Falls Park here in Sioux Falls.

Walking around the park wore him out. He had trouble catching his breath. It was our only real outing during his trip. He'd also had other health concerns that I won't get into here, but when he'd been to the doctor two years prior, they weren't able to find anything wrong.
After going into the hospital on Friday, it was Wednesday before my brother and I were able to get details from his doctors. Apparently Dad had not listed us as his children when admitted, so they wouldn't talk to us at first. Wednesday, my brother finally got someone to talk to him. The news wasn't good. Dad had 2-4 weeks at best. I immediately booked a flight for a week out...the soonest and cheapest I could travel. Moments after booking my flight, my brother called me back. Dad had crashed. His lungs had given out. The doctors had put him on a breathing machine, but my brother told them not to take heroic measures and he was taken off the machine. My brother called his neighbors who were really close to him and were the ones that took him to the hospital to begin with. They made it to the hospital moments later. The nurse asked them if he was talking to them. He was sleeping and they were shocked that he might be able to talk. She woke him up for them and asked Dad if he was in any pain. He said no and then acknowledged that his neighbors were there. Then he drifted back to sleep. The held his hands and rubbed his arms until he passed later that night. It was peaceful, and he was with people who loved him.
But sadly, my trip to say goodbye ended up being a trip to handle his affairs.
Dad was not a religious man. Nor was he the type of guy who would want a big fuss. So instead of traditional services, we had a gathering in his home followed by a nice dinner out in his honor.
This is his perpetual orchid. This was his pride and joy. It's been blooming for about 2 years now. A second stalk of flowers bloomed while we were there. I wanted to bring it home with me, but the thing is HUGE. That's the top of his entertainment center. It stretches nearly the full length.

Isn't it beautiful?

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I miss North Carolina. This is Dad's house. Can't see it through the trees? Exactly!

The trip itself was bitter-sweet. I hadn't seen my brother in over 6 years. He's a goofy thing, but I love him.

So, after my trip, I had a craft show. I had 2 evenings to cram some production and cram I did, with the help of my friend J. J comes to my rescue a lot, doesn't she? Thanks J!
The craft show itself was a bit of a flop. I spent more than I sold. :) But that's ok; it was fun! Definitely a learning experience. And considering I only had about 2 days of production, I think I did fairly well.
The day AFTER the craft show, it got pretty chilly, so we turned on our furnace. Almost immediately, our carbon monoxide detector went nuts. We quickly gathered some warm clothes and evacuated. Mr. Yarnworks stayed behind (outside) to wait for the gas company and I took the girls to a friend's house. Turns out the furnace was leaking both Carbon Monoxide AND gas! Eek! The gas company condemned it. So we stayed with my friend G. G rocks guys. Truly, she does. We ended up living with her for 2 weeks waiting until the furnace installation guys got us heat. (Although we're STILL waiting for them to finish finish. *sigh*)

In the midst of living with G, Mr. Yarnworks was mobilized with his National Guard unit. They're currently in Mississippi, but in a couple months will be heated to Iraq for a year to 15 months. Here he is with big sister a couple days before he left.

He headed to Mississippi on October 28th. I hear from him almost daily, though he's always too tired to talk long. He's doing well. The whole unit is hard at work getting ready to deploy. He's been very pleased with this unit. Everyone seems to have their act together, all the way up the chain of command. Much better than the last time he deployed!

Of course, Halloween also came and went while we were still living with G. We had big plans to go trick-or-treating. Big sister was a mermaid. Little sister was a penguin after her favorite movie, Happy Feet! But, there was trouble.

My little penguin was NOT happy. Not one little bit. She wasn't happy being held. She wasn't happy on the floor. She wasn't happy in her high chair. She was just intent on being unpleasant. So she and I stayed home (she went to bed early!). My friend, T, picked up big sister to take her out with her daughter, big sister's best friend. It ended up working out well, but I was disappointed to not be able to take little sister out for her first trick-or-treating. (We stayed home last year since she was so young.)

So, we finally got moved back into the house on Saturday, November 3. This was the same day that little sister was diagnosed with the croup. I get us moved back into the house, order a pizza, and start running the shower so I can steam up the bathroom for little sister. I check back on the bathroom and there's no steam. Oh wait, there's no hot water! Ack! The gas had been cut to the hot water heater when they replaced the furnace. Joy. I called the landlord, but had to put little sister to bed before he got to the house to turn the gas back on to the hot water heater and light the pilot. Sunday and Monday pass without too much drama. But Monday night, I get chilly, so I went to check the thermostat. Now, me being chilly is nothing new. I'm a Carolina girl in South Dakota. I'm always chilly. But I realized quickly that the furnace wasn't coming on. It's now 1am. I call the heating people and leave them a message on their after-hours voicemail. I wait up.
At 2:30am they call me back and explain that by the time they get anyone out there, it'd be morning anyway. And that they'd planned to come out first thing to continue work on the furnace, so I should just make do until morning. I was beyond frustrated.
I try really hard to be a good mother. And yet, here I am, alone, with two sick kids (one with a cold, one with croup), and there's no heat in my house. I can't keep my babies warm. One of the basic necessities of life....not freezing to death, right? *sigh* But, my only two options at this point were to hope for the best and go to bed or to wake up the girls and take them out in the 20 degree night back to G's house. I opted to hope for the best. I gave little sister extra blankets. Big sister was in my bed, so I knew she'd be fine. And I went to bed.
I woke up at 7:30am and the furnace is running! What?!? Am I just an idiot? Was it working the whole time?
I get up and check it out. The door at the top of the stairs is open, but I know I'd closed it to help conserve heat in the main living area. I check the front door. Unlocked. I'd forgotten to lock the door before I went to bed! Did the heating guys come out while I slept?!?! I called. Yes, they had. What?!?!? They didn't call or ring the doorbell. Maybe they knocked, but I would never have heard that from my bedroom. I was completely freaked out. Some stranger was in my house while I was asleep with my girls! I cannot believe this company. Truly. Beyond only working 2-4 hours a day every other day. Beyond never giving me notice of when they expect to be given free run of the house. Beyond all that, they let themselves into my house at 5am. Un-freakin-believable.
Since then? Big sister dropped my cell phone into a sink full of water. Little sister had to go back to the doctor because her croup wasn't letting up. And my landlords did a walkthrough of the house after I sent them a list of complaints about repairs not being done and just today were supposed to come by to fix those things, and didn't show up.
So it looks like tomorrow I will be making some phone calls to see what my rights as a tenant are when I have a ceiling that has been leaking for a year and a half and surely has mold growing. Not to mention a half dozen other complaints that have gone ignored.
Is it any wonder that I haven't had a lot of time to spend working on JL Yarnworks?