Friday, March 30, 2007

One year and counting!

Good morning everyone! TGIF! It has been an eventful week here at the Christensen Huis - my kids were bouncing off the walls because Spring Break starts today (and when they are teenagers, it makes for some pretty heavy duty bouncing!!) - they are headed off with their Dad to the Bahamas for a week of fun in the sun. It has been insane at work - major changes in lending criteria have made the learning curve steep! My boss was a casualty of "being downsized" - his position was eliminated yesterday. When he called to tell me I cried - he is the provider for his family. I liked him and feel awful that this happened to him. It also means that my "new" boss is in the Detroit area - miles away from our team - and the markets are vastly different. My team-mates and I are nervous about what will shake down next. We lost our "go to" person who fought our battles for us. Change is not always good.

On a brighter note - it is Friday, I am thankfully busy at work and low enough on the totem pole that our jobs are safe. We are the peons after all!

Spring is unfurling slowly and beautifully here - my tree in the front yard has leaf buds on it, the birds are singing their beautiful chorus', and it smells so good outside! I took this photo of my "Sunday sky", an amazing sunset that we had on Sunday night. Beautiful, isn't it?

So, yesterday I mentioned a small contest to celebrate 1 year of blogging. That's right, it was a year ago that "As Kat Knits" was born. I have enjoyed the process of this tremendously and even more - have enjoyed finding other knitting bloggers. I enjoy reading your blogs as much as I enjoy blogging. I have made some good friends that I would have never met if it were not for this media! To celebrate I have a fun little contest... taking a page from my friend Lynne - I have filled my antique Irish Bread bowl with yarn. Guess how many skeins I have filled it with. Here you go ...
Or maybe this view is better...
Or perhaps this one?

Get your guesses in - you will have until Sunday night, April Fool's Day to vote.

What will you win? I have 3 skeins of Cotton Chenile ready to ship off to the winner in lovely "spring" colors. So, gentle readers - get out there and vote! Have a fantastic Friday.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

It's Blogiversary Eve!

Wow, tomorrow As Kat Knits will be 1 year young! Where did the time go? It is hard to imagine how much change has happened in the last year of my life - job changes, life changes, knitting challenges, and new friends! I feel a contest coming on - I shall ponder it over the evening and post the details in the morning.

The weather here has been just lovely! Hope it is equally lovely in your corner of the world.

Stay tuned for more...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Traveling Tuesday!

Hello everyone. I have been working on travel plans - knitting travel plans. Where am I going, you ask? Well, it is not me going - I am in Lynne's Special Swap and the theme for March and April is to send our pal on a "knitting journey". I have been working on all the fun stops for my pal to travel on. I think I have her "itinerary" about complete, but am looking for 1 or 2 last "must" stops. This has been so much fun, and I am excited to see where she is going to "send" me!!

Has everyone been bitten by the "Spring Fever Bug"? I know I certainly have - I am itching to get outside and play! I saw signs of life in my garden this morning - my yarrow is coming up!! The birds are all singing amazing chorus', it is so grand to have the windows open to listen to them. It is also grand to have the HEAT OFF!

I have Knitter's Guild tonight - it is WWIT night. I know we all have had those moments of weakness - the "What Was I Thinking" knitting blunders. I am bring 3 WWIT items tonight - I will post photo's of my lovelies later. I think you will all agree - What was I thinking! Trust me ladies - if you are over 12 and weigh more than 100 pounds, a "furry poncho" just does not work! Heck, a "non-furry poncho" does not work! If you recall "Virtual Kat" from a month ago - you can easily see why a poncho and the "wide angle backside" do not go well together! So, I am hauling off my early knitting adventures off for "new ideas" at the Guild meeting tonight. There should be laughs for all - at least with what I am bringing. The knitting blunder I am not bringing is the sweater I knit for my "dear, departed husband" (and before all of you start commenting and asking if he died - no he is alive and well, or at least that is what I last heard! He just has "moved on" - to another state!). Some ideas that some of the gals from SnB were rather funny... the one I thought was funniest was take the sweater out with me to "find a new owner". Can you see me walking down the streets of Holland holding my sweater up to male passers-by, sizing them up? My fear is that it is (excuse my language here...) asshole sized and I am certainly not looking for another one of those! Another thought was to "felt" it a bit so it can fit my son - but, the same connotation is ringing in my head, and my son is very dear to me! It is gorgeous yarn - Noro Cochoran - a real waste of good yarn, if you ask me. It was the first sweater I finished and sending it to the Frog Pond would be painful! I think I will keep it as a reminder of what not to seek in a male companion!

Okay, enough of this line of thought - watch for photo's of my WWIT - hmmm, I think I can add a picture of my husband to that line up as well!

Have a fabulous Tuesday all!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Weekends are for knitting...

Hello everyone! It was such a lovely weekend here, right now it is 70 degrees outside - it was an amazing day. I did quite a bit of knitting this weekend watching March Maddness - see how far I am on my Simple Knitted Bodice!!
What are those 2 cakes of yarn you ask? Well, as I went through my stash - I discovered that I did not have enough yarn to complete this sweater! I had to go buy 2 additional balls of Ultra Alpaca - different dye lots, thus I am working them in with my other yarn. I am working on the waist portion, almost ready to start the lace work. I am having so much fun knitting this! Top down sweaters are definately my cup of tea! I love how I can try it on as I go!! This sweater will be sure to fit!

I have plans for this summer that I am dying to share with you all! I have arrived in knitting - I truly believe that! Rose from my LYS asked me if I wanted to go to Sievers School this summer for a week long class with her! Now, Rose is an amazing knitter. She has taught me so many new and fun things - she was the one who encouraged me to take the class with Beth Brown Reinsel! So, what is on the class list this summer? Knitting from South Sweden with Carol Huebscher Rhoades as our instructor!! Think on this gentle readers - a week of knitting!!! In my prior life this would not have been possible, but it surely is now! And, you cannot imagine how honored I am that Rose has asked me!!! Can life get any better???

I am working on my Bloomin' Feet socks as well, but I have to tell you - it has been hard to put down SKB this week. I promise to do better next week Amanda and post a photo of my sock progression for you! Hopefully I will be done with sock #1 and have sock #2 started. That is my plan and I am sticking to it!!

Have a good Monday everyone!!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Chain letters

What are your thoughts on Chain Letters? I have never been one to participate in them, I frankly find them a nuisance to the nth degree. Well, I got one at work the other day - have you all heard of the "Financial Blessings Letter"? Someone, this chain letter is unsigned, so the victim (me) has no idea who is my tormentor! If you are in my office and you put this letter in my mailbox, you might want to stop reading by blog about now... it is going to get ugly from here forward.

So, I go up and ask the receptionist if she knows who put this in my mailbox - she laments to me, no - but I got 6 of them!

Basically, the gist of this "letter" is that if you do not send this letter out - great peril awaits the poor sap who does not send it on to dozens of other poor saps. Yet - if you do send this out to the unsuspecting public - a treasure trove of blessings are just waiting to be showered upon you.

Here is my question - beyond my asking above what your thoughts are on chain letters - is there anyone out there who believes this?? I guess I can see why people answer those emails on the "Ethiopia Scams" etc.

So, as I am not going to send this letter out to any of my friends, so-called friends, acquaintances, or even those people who are not friends - stay tuned to see what horror befalls me in the next few days! I am sure to keep you all posted!

Hey - the sun is out after the rain of yesterday - it is about 50 degrees outside and tonight is Knit Night, it is a good day in my neighborhood! Have a good one in yours!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spring has Sprung!

Welcome Spring - come on in! Sit down and stay for awhile!! Are you all as excited as I am that we ushered in spring last night? Boy oh boy - I can tell you that this household certainly is! And, it seems that as March came roaring in like a ravaging lion, the forecast for the next 8 days are more lamb-like! We are supposed to reach 50 degrees today - and it is supposed to rain! Unlike the song - rainy days and "Wednesdays" don't always get me down! The rain will be welcome - something to wash all the dirt away. Something to help perk up the grass and encourage the tulips and daffodils to bloom! With a week of 50 degree temperatures, by the weekend there will be color everywhere!

I have been looking through the new and there are several patterns that have caught my eye! Tahoe is certainly a lovely sweater!

I love the drape of the yarn and the sleeves! Debbie Bliss and Koigu - can you get a better combination than this?

What about Bauble? I have not done any bead knitting, but the colors drew me in!
Nice? I love this! This would match much of what is in my "spring" closet! Michaels here I come!

Then I saw these... Quill Lace socks!

Okay, I can see my daughter in these - I don't have any Lisa Souza yarn, but I do have a goodly amount of sock yarn in my stash - I will have to finish my Bloomin' Feet Socks and cast these beauties on!

But, the thing that really caught my eye was More stripes!
I have some Noro Silk Garden in my stash - all I need are 4 skeins of a contrasting color. I think that will not break my New Year's Resolution too badly - so I am heading for my LYS to get the yarn! This sweater will also help me with my resolution - it is "steeked" - so I will be learning a new technique as well! I need to knit furiously on my Simple Knitted Bodice so I can cast this beauty on!
Have a wonderful day as you usher in spring to your neighborhood!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sunday Blues

It is a chilly day here in West Michigan - a mere 29 degrees out. Here is a picture of our morning sky though - there is blue sky and do you see the buds on the trees?

It amazes me that just a couple of warm days and buds appear on the trees and tulips and daffodils are coming up.

Last night I had dinner with some friends to celebrate St. Patrick's Day - I really wonder how much green beer is served in Ireland! We went to our local pizza parlour - I know, there is some real Irish fare! They had a band that was not very Irish either, so I was home early. Plus, I had work calls - I need to counsel those people on getting a life!

I worked on SKB yesterday and I have plans to knit much more on it today - while I watch March Madness this afternoon. Knitting and college hoops, what a great afternoon. Sunday nights used to be a much better television night when Grey's was on - how many of you are watching the Apprentice this season? It has not impressed me at all. I am ready for the "Reality Show" phenomenon to fade away. It seems to be an insult to one's intelligence - or have we all become voyuers - wanting to peer in to other's lives - lives that are orchestrated by directors. Seems a bit odd to me - but, maybe I am odd! After all, I blog about my life so you all can read about it!! And, as you can see - I read about your lives too! Okay, I definately need to get a life! That is most certainly true! (There is my Lutheran comment for the day!)

Have a relaxing Sunday everyone!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Frenzied Friday!

It is March and Madness has arrived! For those of you who don't know, I absolutely love March Madness. I have my brackets filled in, there is smack talk around the coffee pot at work, and I have my $5 in the office pool! What can be more fun than hours of college basketball and March?!

March is also a birthday month for some friends of mine! Not only is March 17th Saint Patrick's Day - it is also the birthday of Lynne and Ruby! Stop by and wish them a Happy Birthday!!

Several of you asked me what SKB was - sorry about that. I thought I was the only knitter who had yet to cast on Stitch Diva's Simple Knitted Bodice - now you all know, SKB = Simple Knitted Bodice. A decidedly feminine sweater that is knitting up quickly! What more can a girl ask for as spring is looming on the horizon!

I heard from the weather man that a warming trend is going to usher in the end of the month - this is good since March roared in like a lion!! I am not holding my breath for no more snow this month, but even it more white stuff falls I know it won't last!!

Hopefully you all will have an awesome Friday and an even better weekend. Oh, and Lynne and Ruby - you have the most happiest and blessed birthdays!!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Spring? Or winter?

Well, only in Michigan can the weather go from 68 degrees one day to 34 degrees the next. Spring is challenging Winter and the Old Man is not quite ready to give up yet. Keep on trying Spring - he can't hang on that much longer!

Judy is having a little contest that you might want to stop by and see. Put on your creative cap and write up a post for her sock adventures! There will be 3 lucky winners and you have until the 17th to enter. Get on over there!!

On the knitting front - I am working on my Bloomin' Feet socks for my pal - they are coming along. I am about an inch from my toe decreases on sock #1. I have been knitting on my lunch hour - it is a nice break for me during the day! As I knit, I think good thoughts about my sock recipient - I think these socks are gonna look awesome on her feet!

I also pulled some yarn out of my stash and cast on SKB - yes, I know - everyone has already knit this! But, I had some lovely Berroco Ultra Alpaca in an awesome hot pink shade and I thought - this is just the "pick me up" I need. I am working through the neck and shoulder increases. I am liking the yarn alot as well.

Several weeks ago I went to a doctor who had been an OB-GYN, but she is now doing Women's Mid-life health. It was an eye opening visit. First of all, to have a physician talk to me for over an hour was shocking, to say the least. When the longest time you ever get to spend with your physician is what, 4 nano-seconds at best? I was impressed to say the least. She listened, asked questions... and she put me on some medication - which is doing amazing things, I might add! She also scheduled me for a bone density scan and a follow up with her in a few weeks. The one thing I kept thinking was something she said to me, women take care of themselves last. This is very true! So, my fellow readers - please take heed. If you are over 40 you need to have a mamogram. When was your last pap test? Have you had your blood pressure taken recently? Do you know what your cholesterol levels are? Do these things for you!! YOU are worth it! If your doctor is one on the nano-second chart - tell him or her that you'd like a bit more time. Write your questions down if you need to!! Okay, I will get off my soap box now!! But, remember - I care about you, take care of yourself! :-)

Have an awesome Thursday everyone. Keep on cheering Spring on!!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Rainy Days and Mondays...

Gentle Readers, it seems that spring is creeping into West Michigan! Yesterday the temperature soared to 50 degrees - and when I woke this morning, it had not dipped below 40 degrees out. They are predicting a warm day today - with a sprinkling of rain. Rain on! It will help wash away that dirty snow! Tomorrow - be still my soul - a whopping 60 degrees are predicted!

Don't you just love the progression of seasons? I certainly do - it is so comforting. Without any work from us, each season arrives with it's unique gifts. As the days lengthen and the weather warms, I am so happy to be alive and experiencing every moment of it.

I knit quite a bit yesterday on my Bloomin' Feet socks. I am almost to the toe on sock one, and will hopefully have it completed this week! I love the pattern I selected - it is a fun sock to knit!

Have an awesome Monday everyone... enjoy your day!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Beth Brown Reinsel

Wow! A day with Beth was truly amazing. It started out bright and early with Beth teaching us Swedish Cast-ons. Who knew there were so many different ways to cast-on? I learned 4 new cast-on's and made swatches of each. Then we cast-on to work our twined knitting swatch. Now, twined knitting is the english translation of Tvaandsstickning - or knitting with 2 ends of the yarn. I learned about yarn dominance and "S" and "Z" plied yarns. It was an awesome day. I knit a "Twined Wrister" to practice the twined knitting stitches.

As you can see, the stitch pattern is interesting. I loved this knitting technique.. I cast off a bit to tightly, so next time I will go up a needle size or two when I bind off. I purchased some patterns from Beth - from Twined Mittens and Socks (these are truly amazing...) to Swedish Lovikka Mittens - which are knitted and "fulled" (Beth corrected us on our felting terms) to Norwegian Mittens to Scottish Sanquhar gloves, and of course I could not resist a top down Aran sweater pattern. The best treat of all was that Beth came to SnB at Friends of Wool that evening. She was working on her Latvian mittens - she humbled me to no end, she was knitting away without looking at the pattern! We laughed and I felt so honored to be in the company of this amazing group of women, knitting, talking, sharing - it was a great evening of fellowship. I was re-energized in my resolution to learn something new. My brain was spinning with all the new things I learned and how I could use those things to expand my knitting skills.

Taking a day off made for an insane Friday - I was sad not to be able to take Beth's cardigan class on Friday - but with all I had going on, I could not be out of work one more day. I spent the day digging out and all this while the phone was ringing off the hook. I am glad the weekend is here!

On Friday I arrived home to find a package from Sunshine Yarn - my next installment of her Sock Club yarn had arrived. It is so gorgeous - she calls it "Fresh" -

It is so soft and the colors are truly amazing - and yes, it so reminds me of the glorious colors found at the Farmer's Market! Dani, this yarn is so beautiful!!

I hinted at some news I needed to share - as most of you are aware, I have been having marital strife for the past few months. My husband moved out unexpectedly last July, he moved back home for a few weeks in November and abruptly left again in December. Well, last week he moved away - as in to another state - to Kentucky. Honestly, it was as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I had heard from him numerous times each week since his departure in early December that he could not "focus on our relationship" and how "overwhelmed" he was. It was draining for me and I was struggling with guilt that I could not "fix" what was wrong. At one time, I loved my husband so deeply - I believed in him unfailingly. It became harder and harder to love him through all this. On the evening that I was having dinner with some friends and his parents came up to me to tell me what a failure I was - it ended for me. I called him and asked that his parents respect my privacy. My husband runs away from problems, he does not solve them. So, it is the end of a chapter - and I am looking at a new page. I can look back on the errors I made in our relationship - hindsight gives one 20-20 vision. I am going to try and avoid those errors... as best as I can.

So, now that I have put a downer on your Sunday - don't be sad for me, please. I feel so unburdened these past days - it is a very good thing. Spring is knocking on the door, the sun has been shining. The dirty snow is all melting, soon the spring flowers will be growing again. I feel like my life is moving like spring, the things I have been struggling with are melting away, like the snow and new life is emerging in it's place.

Have a very blessed Sunday. Thanks for letting me share.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Baby it's cold outside!

Well, we woke up this morning to zero outside... all I could think was I hope it is going up from here! BRRRRRR! Evidently we have some more snow coming as well, 3-6 more inches! It seems that winter does just not want to give up! With a December and January that had virtually no snow, February certainly made up for it with a vengeance!

Not much knitting content, I am sorry to say. I have been so busy at work - so busy I worked on Saturday morning for a few hours and Sunday afternoon for a few more!

I had dinner with a friend last night - it was a nice break. She is one of my knitting buddies from SnB at my LYS. I am taking a day off this week - Beth Brown Reinsel is coming to Friends of Wool to teach a couple of classes. I am taking the Swedish Cast On and Twined Knitting classes on Thursday. A whole day and night of knitting - this sure sounds heavenly to me!

I have some news on the homefront, but I am not ready to share yet. Have a great Tuesday everyone - stay warm!!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

It's a very Special Day!

Hello everyone - I came home from work yesterday to find a box on my doorstep. It was my Special Swap package from Kim and did she send me some goodies!

The box was filled with some amazing things! A bottle of her favorite wine, Clos Du Bois - which is right now chilling in my fridge for later! A box of chocolates - mmmmm! Some adorable heart shaped stitch markers - how awesome since the theme was "Hearts and Roses"! Also a great row counter - in pastel pink! A book on Aromatherapy recipes - just what this girl needs in her stress filled life! A beautiful note Rose note pad and pen, which are already in my purse! And, last but not least - 3 skeins of Khroma yarn - a 50/50 blend of Alpaca and Merino - can you say soft and yummy!! It is in 2 coordinating shades, Winesap and Pomegranate. Kim, I love everything you sent! What an awesome package!!

I have so enjoyed reading Kim's blog - she and I have several things in common, but what struck me first off was that we both have Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Kim is off this weekend showing her puppy - I have been thinking good thoughts for a HUGE win for her!!

And, a huge thanks goes out to our lovely hostess, Lynne for inviting me to be part of this very special group and for giving me such a great partner! I am really looking forward to the next 2 months in which we receive a NEW partner - mine is Lucia - and I am thinking about where I can "send" her on a fabulous knitting vacation.

Hope you are all staying warm and dry - the March Lion just keeps on roaring here. We have had snow and blowing all weekend. I am ready for spring.

I am heading out tonight to an AMBUCS benefit. It is a "Casino Night" - wish me luck! LOL

Have a great weekend all!