Flat Rate Box Swap

As you may remember, I started a Sock Yarn Blanket like Shelly Kang’s back in 2008.  I worked on it for a while. I last posted about it on block 75. Right after that, I set it aside. I did another two blocks over the years. I picked it up again in the last few weeks.  My blankie has grown to 93 blocks!

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Isn’t it beautiful?  I still love this project. I love working with the wee little blocks.  I love the constant changes in yarn. I love the instant gratification and potato chippy nature of the blocks.  I have added a few special blocks.  See the pretty red and brown blocks in the top row?  They are leftovers from my Ulmas shawl.  The yarn is some of the now discontinued Bugga! yarn.  They are separated by a metallic blue block. That is from the Lion Brand BonBons (metallics). I love those cute tiny skeins!  In the bottom right hand corner of this picture, you can see some leftovers from some socks I made!  That is Collinette Jitterbug in Raphael.  I love those socks! They are some of my favorite!

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The next picture has two more blocks that are worth talking about. The first is the tan colored block in the top row. Although it is more of a sport weight, I did a block with the leftovers of the linen (Louet Euroflax) I used for my moss grid towel. I got the yarn and the Mason Dixon Knitting book in a Flat Rate Box Swap many years ago. I use that book all the time!  I still love it. The yarn is not fun to knit with, but it is soft and lovely when washed!  Right below and to the left of that block is a block from the yarn that I used to make Wyatt’s monkey.  This is also yarn that I got in a swap. Wyatt carried this monkey everywhere for several years. He still sleeps with it regularly (when his little sister hasn’t stolen it to play with).  That monkey got us through countless medical treatments and several hospital visits with Wyatt. He is still well loved!  The yarn is Kindred Spirits Footloose Sock yarn in Footloose Fancy.  Looking around it looks as if this yarn is also discontinued.

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One of things that I didn’t expect when I started this is how it would not just contain memories of my own projects, but also of yarns that were cool and then faded away!  Some of the yarn balls I pull out of my little jar are from swaps 4 and 5 years ago. Many of them are discontinued or discontinued colorways. Many are from indie dyers. It is like a little time capsule. Since I have been working on blanket again, my jar was getting empty. I went back into my bin of mini skeins and pulled a bunch out. In the past, I wound them into little round balls by hand. I don’t love to knit with these little balls because they roll everywhere.  I had wound some of them into center pull balls with my ball winder, but the center was too large. They ended up tangled messes that I had to rewind by hand into little round balls.  Neither is a good option. I decided to do some research. I came across a video on winding a center pull ball by hand that seemed perfect for my mini skeins.  I used a Q hook that I had and wound a few skeins into perfect little center pull balls that don’t fall apart if the wind blows!  Now I can wait to knit with them!  I put a picture of a wound ball of Shibui sock yarn (discontinued), a mini skein of Yarn Pirate yarn in the Killer Bees colorway (discontinued), and my Q hook!  There is something meditative about winding tiny little mini balls of yarn!

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Progress as of 1/5/11 (75 blocks)

I have reached a Wee Block milestone: 75 blocks!  It is very exciting!  It is getting harder to take photos of the whole blanket.  It was neglected for a long time, but has been charming me lately. I love that it is instant gratification, and means new yarns each time I pick it up.

So, now for the little update on a few of the blocks.  First up is a really big block. It is made out of the leftover yarn from the scarf I made for my niece Shay.  The yarn is Zitron Trekking (XXL).

Yarn from Shay's scarf Next is a yarn that I got in a swap.  The green “camo” yarn.  In one of the Flat Rate Box Swaps, I got a neat project bag crocheted out of this yarn.  The extra was included in the box.  I had to make a square with it.
Yarn from swap partner

The pink and grey yarn is the next special block.  I used it to make a scarf for Aliesha.  The yarn is Spritely Goods Sylph in the Arizona Ironwood colorway.  I loved the scarf, so knitting the block was a fun chance to relive it a bit!
Yarn from Aliesha's scarf

The last picture has two special blocks.  The brightly colored block under the purple block is from the scarf I made for my niece Delani.  I dyed the yarn with Easter Egg dye.  The purple block is also special.  Why?  It is the 75th block!!  I have no idea what yarn this is. It came from a swap on the Blankie Mania board.
75th block and hand dyed blockNow that I have my pretty jar, I have been picking up this blankie more.  The pretty yarn in the jar is just too tempting to resist!!  There will be more updates with that jar there to constantly tempt me to knit a block!

I can’t believe how little time I have had lately.  So, this will probably be a long post.  There is a lot going on in my life.

1. CB’s testing and such: We had CB’s EEG last week.  The neurologist was really surprised by the results. We suspected that CB was having absence seizures a couple times a week. It turns out that it is more like a couple times a day (and when he is tired or stressed, a couple times an hour).  He is now on meds. We have already noticed a difference after one week. He is more focused. He is also sleeping a lot more (and really well).  We have an MRI in December.  That will determine if there is any neurological cause for all his right side weakness. In the meantime, we will be starting physical therapy on Friday.  Everyone has expected me to be very upset about the results. So far, I just feel a real sense of peace.  CB is happy and healthy. He has absence epilepsy, but no delays as a result and it seems like the meds will work. He is growing and is cute as a bug. I couldn’t ask for a better kid. We are just trusting in God that this is all part of the plan.  On a very positive note, CB has started calling me “mama”!!  Until last week, he called me “this” if he was talking to me or “that” if he was talking about me.  He called his pacifier “mama”.  It was a little strange to hear him say, “Love you, This.”  Last week, he started calling me “moi moi” (think French pronunciation). Just last night, he finally converted that to “mama” (so now it is confusing…sometimes he wants me and sometimes he is asking for his paci).  It is so nice to hear, “Love you, mama” at night!

2. On the knitting front, I have been working like crazy on Christmas gifts (when I get a chance). I have done some more afghan squares (all are pictured in my projects on Ravelry).  I am currently waiting on the final Knitpicks order for the yarn. Once I get that, I should be able to blaze through the squares to get caught up (I hope)!

3. I got a great package from my pal in the Flat Rate Box Swap!  It had two skeins of Classic Lite Alpaca yarn, two skeins of Palette, a skein of Sockotta, and a skein of Baby Cashmerino.  She also included a pumpkin dishcloth (which CB loves, and keeps him from whining about having his face washed). I also received cocoa, two kinds of coffee, cinnamon bears, and Good n’ Plenty.  My pal, Shannon, included things for the kids too. There was some ribbon for their scrapbooks, a little book for CB, an activity book for LB, and stickers for their scrapbooks.  She also included honey from her local market (that is my littlest one’s hand reaching for the bear), soap from her local market, candles (that smell so good!), a circular needle perfect for two at a time socks, stitch markers (the kind I was going to buy myself, but could never justify it), stationary, and a calendar!  It was a very full box!!  Here is a link to a post about it with pictures.

4. I have also been very busy with church.  We are putting on a Kid’s ministry program the first Sunday of every month. I am the team leader for the greeters. I am also the contact person for the volunteers for our church (we are doing the ministry with three other churches).  That hasn’t been too bad.  I am also in charge of the planning for our annual Halloween carnival, Halloweenival (clever, huh).  It has been hectic planning, but it is all starting to come together.

5. Lately, I have really been focused on the homeless.  As some of you know, during law school, I worked in the Homeless Legal Rights Unit in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale legal aid.  Homelessness is a big issue for me (my pet issue if you will).  When I moved north and took this job, it kind of went on the back burner.  Lately, every conversation, every new person I meet, everything I do seems to put me into contact with the issue again.  Our community no longer has an emergency shelter.  Right now, I am working with some other members of the community to see what can be done about that.  In knitting related news, I decided to open a chapter of Warming Families here.  The North Florida Chapter is officially open and accepting donations! I am really excited to be doing this small thing to help the community!

Well, that is what I have been doing with my time!  I will try to be better at posting as things slow down (which I hope is really soon!)!!

I finished my CNE scarf a few days ago. This is a scarf that will go to one of my nieces for Christmas.  It is made of the yarn I dyed using Easter egg dye left over from our eggs this year.  It is very bright.  I really like the pattern, but the project seemed to take forever. It was knit on size 3 needles with fingering weight yarn. I suppose that is why. If I were to knit it again, I think I would use larger needles.  The pattern was easy to memorize. I also have a fondness for seed stitch, and this scarf has a seed stitch border.  I don’t know why, but I love knitting seed stitch!

After I finished the scarf, I cast on a Monkey 2.0 for CB for his birthday. He turns two at the end of September.  We are trying to wean him from his paci, but I really feel like he needs a comfort/security item to replace it. He loathes blankets, so that is out.  I think he will love the monkey.  The pattern for this monkey is really clever. It eliminates a lot of the sewing by being knit in the round.  I really am enjoying knitting this. I also think this yarn is completely perfect for this project. This is the Kindred Spirits yarn I got in the first Flat Rate Box Swap.  It is supposed to be fair isle/stripey yarn. In the legs of the monkey, it has almost a “galaxy” effect (like the Regia Galaxy yarns).  Also, the legs and body all started in exactly the same point of the color repeat.  I could not have done this on purpose so perfectly if I had tried.  It is such a fun, happy accident.  This monkey is going to be very, very cute.  I also love that it is knitting up really, really fast.  I am thinking that I may do one for my nephew for Christmas since I hadn’t decided what to make him.  I may also do one for LB for his birthday (late December).

I have also started another new scarf (another Christmas present for another niece).  I decided to make it out of the Spritely Goods that I got in a trade some time ago. The colors just scream to be made into something for this particular niece.  I decided to knit the One Row Handspun Scarf by the Yarn Harlot.  I doubled the yarn and am knitting it on size 8 needles.  It is a huge relief after knitting the previous scarf. It is knitting up so fast!  Part of that is the completely addictive nature of the pattern.  A row doesn’t take long. I can’t seem to knit a single row. I keep saying, “Just one more…ok, just one more…maybe one more…”  I am enjoying this pattern (and how quickly it is knitting up) so much that I may do another for my last niece.  I just have to check the yardage on the yarn I have for her.

I am actually pretty surprised at how much knitting I have gotten done over the last week or so.  We have been dealing with a lot of kid stuff.  LB started pre-K this morning. We have been trying to prepare him for the last week or so for the change in routine. I am not sure why we worried so much. He is such an easygoing kid. He adapts to new situations with amazing ease.  I actually cried a little when I dropped him off. He started by telling me that I didn’t need to take him into the building. Thankfully, they require that parents sign their children in, so I had a really good excuse to go in with him.  He went in and started playing immediately.  I spoke to the teacher briefly, and then told LB I was leaving.  He said, “Bye, Mom” without even looking up from his toys. I said, “Can I maybe get a hug and kiss before I leave?”  He heaved a huge, long suffering sigh, and then gave me the fastest kiss and hug on record before returning to his toys. I got all teary eyed and looked at the teacher. She said, “He will be ok, mama.”  I said, “I know. I think that is why I am crying!”  I couldn’t believe how big and independent he seemed!

We have also been dealing with some health stuff with CB. While we were in Wyoming, my mom asked me, “So, how long has CB been walking like that?”  I had no idea what she was talking about. I turns out, he walks with his head tilted.  I never noticed.  She had to point it out and tell me it wasn’t normal.  Then, CB had one of his “spacing out” spells. Sometimes he just spaces out.  My mom noticed and tried to get his attention. She couldn’t.  She asked me how often he does that. I had no idea because we leave him alone when he spaces out. We have always just assumed that he was such an internal child that he just needed space sometimes. We thought he was just very good at tuning us out, so we don’t really try to get his attention when he does it.  My mom was very disturbed by it. She suspects that he is having absence seizures.  At first, she told me just to mention it at his next appointment at the end of September.  After thinking about it and considering that his head is abnormally large, my mom asked me to call the doctor immediately. The doctor diagnosed CB with mild torticollis (for the “tilt” when he walks). He is going to start physical therapy (again). She also expressed concern about the possibility of absence seizures combined with his head size. She decided to send him for an EEG and neurology appointment. I spent all week setting all the various appointments up (in between court, office appointments, jail visits, and all the other mom stuff I do).  All the appointments are spread out over the next month.   As I said, it amazes me that I got any knitting done at all!

Boys at Lake sherdI just got back from a really wonderful vacation in Wyoming.  Every other year, my family has a family reunion in Wyoming.  The first week was spent at that reunion.  The second week was spent just hanging out with my parents, siblings, nieces, and nephew.  We had a great time.  This is a picture of my boys on our hike to Lake Sherd.

I wore my shawl a lot because the weather was cold.  I also got a lot of crafting done.  I got quite a bit done on my CNE (Christmas n Easter) Scarf for my niece.  I also made three bath puffs while there. I taught my mom how to make them (she taught me to crochet, but I had to teach her all the stitches as she had forgotten).  There are not pictures of the knitting or crochet because I was too busy to get out the camera.

When we got home, DH, both kids and I all had a cold that we got from my brother and his kids.  The kids have a very mild sore throat and cough (although Vicks on their feet one night seems to have gotten rid of their cough). DH and I have serious sore throats, runny noses, terrible coughs, chills, aches, ear aches, etc.  I also got pink eye. CB had it while we were in Wyoming. He got better immediately.  My eye doctor has warned me that I will likely be fighting it for at least a month.

As a result, my return home was not happy.  Fortunately, two things greeted me to make me feel better. First, MIL cleaned our whole house for our anniversary (we celebrated our 9th while in Wyoming…where we were married).  She didn’t just clean…she CLEANED (in all caps).  She washed my windows, washed and put away every stitch of clothing in the house, mopped all the floors, washed the bathrooms, cleaned out the fridge and freezer, took out all the trash, washed the baseboards, vacuumed all carpets, washed all throw rugs, etc.  She is really, really awesome. It was better than any gift she could have bought.

The second thing that greeted me and cheered me was my second Flat Rate Box Swap box.  My swap pal is really, really awesome.  The theme this time was a project for you. The idea was to get everything needed for a single project in your pal’s queue.  My pal chose the Chinook Shawl in mine. She got me the Riverstone colorway.  She also got size 8 harmony needle tips.  Also included was the Mason-Dixon Knitting Book (which I have been really, really wanting) and some Louet Euroflax so that I could make something from it.   There are also several mini-skeins for my sock blankie, a crocheted project bag, mini-highlighter, pencils, mini-post-its, a small pen, a mini clip-on calculator, a magnetic tape measure, a mini-digital camera, an album, a stress ball, Goon n Plenty, hand lotion, and a little sheep.  This is truely a remarkable swap package!!  I was so excited.  I love absolutely everything in it.

Lately, the mail has been very kind to me!  A week or so ago, I got my Loopy Ewe package for July.  It had a pattern, a skein of Bugga sock yarn, a Namaste Buddy case, and a sheepy stitch marker. The yarn is red and burnt orange.  I don’t really wear those colors. I have decided that it should be a shawl. It is soooo soft.  I am going to make it into an Ulmas shawl. I just need to figure out what I want to combine with it. I am thinking of either a charcoal yarn or a camel color. I am leaning more towards charcoal since I wear a lot of black.

Yesterday, I received my package for the Reducio Swap (round 6).  It is wonderful.  I got a little Gryffindor sock, a tapemeasure that looks like a pocket watch, a tiny stitch marker, an owl button, two lion buttons, sock needle point protectors, some stickers, and some bookmarks.  It is such a wonderful package!  LB already has claimed a few of the stickers. He kept saying, “That bluebird sticker is so very beautiful.” I finally took the hint and let him have one of the sheets!

Today, I got my box from the Flat Rate Box Swap on Ravelry. The theme this time was “Local”.  My pal was from Kalamazoo, MI.  The box was packed full of goodies.  The card was a picture made by a local artist.  The card is also a magnet (already on my fridge).  There are matching Avani cards.  There were some preserves made in a nearby town, a candle that is inspired by a nearby community, cherry wafers to represent the cherries in the area, liquid handsoap that is locally made, goats milk soap that is locally made, a Michigan lighthouse pad and pen, a Michigan wooden ornament, a Petosky stone (the state stone), maple sugar candy (which we have already eaten…yummy), and postcards.  Also, there were two skeins of Kindred Spirits yarn (one worsted and one sock yarn). They are so beautiful! I am already thinking about what to make with them!