Thursday, June 28, 2007

Goodbye to June - Hello July!

So, here we are at the end of June (and how, exactly, did that happen?), and considering the fact that I never set any June goals, I am very pleased with what I have accomplished this month and this year so far. Looking at my list of "100 Items for Charity", I can report that I already have 59 items on the list, and we are only halfway through the year! I am on track to actually exceed my goal this year. (The picture on the left is the latest 10 squares for Greensburg, with all the ends woven in this time!)

Which brings me to my July goals. I am a little conflicted. I would like to make July a "finishing" month, because I seem to have so UFOs piled up. However, since several of them are blankets and it has been 90+ degrees here in CT this week, this goal is a little unrealistic. So here is my list for July:

1. Get ready for the Knit and Crochet Show. Yes, I have got to get my swatches made very soon. I also need to set up a notebook and get some new clothes to wear.

2. Crochet my square for Krochet Krystal.

3. Decide on which projects I am taking on vacation and get those supplies together. We leave on August 4th, and time does seem to pass quickly, so I need to make some decisions soon.

4. I may not be able to finish blankets this month, but I have been crocheting a child's sweater for a year or more, and I would really like to get that finished and donated this month.

5. And of course, I will be making more squares! Over at the Gracious Parcels blog, they have some nice patterns available for their squares. I would like to try some of the patterns out, but knit until the squares are 9" and then send them along to Crafting for a Cause's WUA drive. And I really want to crochet more granny squares for Share a Square.

Well, that should keep me busy until vacation!

One more item of note - have you all found The Crochetalong? It is a companion blog to the Ripple Along and the Granny Along. Members are free to post about any crocheted items they are working on. I haven't joined yet, but I don't think I will be able to resist for long!

As always, since I probably won't be back to post until next week, have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

2 More "Squares" Charities!

I have found 2 more charities that are collecting squares. Didn't I say this was a "Summer of Squares"?! (And, btw, sign-ups are still open over at Summer of Squares. It's not too late to join us!)

So, the first charity is called "Gracious Parcels" (blog here), and they are collecting 7" knitted squares that are being made into afghans for people who are moving into houses built by Habitat for Humanity. What a lovely housewarming gift!

Then, Krystal, over at Krochet Krystal, is looking for 6.5" squares made from her own pattern, which she will send you if you promise to make a square and send it back to her. She is assembling all the squares into blankets to be donated somewhere. The pattern is a cute daisy square, and one of my July goals will be to make at least one, if not more, to send to her.

Add those to Share a Square and Rebuilding Greensburg, and there's just no end to the afghan squares you can make this summer!

Monday, June 25, 2007

No Fun Sunday!

So yesterday was not very much fun. I spent the day miserable with one of the worst allergy attacks I've had in a while. I finally took a decongestant, which I almost never do for allergies (preferring to just take Claritin every morning), and I ended up sleeping from 5:30-6:30 P.M. Luckily, my dh is the cook in the family, so I got up to find the table set and the chicken on the grill. Yes, I am fairly spoiled! I couldn't figure out what was setting me off until I talked to my mom last night. She said she had heard that the mold spores were really high for some reason, and that's probably what did it. I am highly allergic to mold, but it's usually a problem in the fall when the leaves come down and it's rainy. I do feel better this morning, and I know I will feel better at work where the air is more filtered.

The other thing that made yesterday no fun was our decision to install the new shades in the sun room. We had purchased 2 shades for the skylights and another 2 for the french doors, which you can see in the fuzzy picture. The door shades came with no instructions or picture whatsoever, and the skylight shades came with poorly written instructions. So it took much longer than it should have to figure everything out. My dh did most of the work, but I was his able-bodied assistant, and it truly took both our brains to sort out what we were doing. We finally finished around 2:30 P.M., and then I got to start all my housework for the day (while feeling lousy). I was not a happy camper for a while there, I can tell you! But we got everything done that we needed to, so I can't really complain.

All of this work really cut into my crocheting time, I can tell you! However, I did manage to make some more squares for Greensburg. Here are the most recent 9 that I have made:
I just need to tie in ends. I might make one more, and that will give me 15 to send in. I think that will be it for Greensburg. I am getting anxious to move on to some other projects, and I still have to get ready for New Hampshire. And suddenly it is the last week of June, so I should probably set some July goals as well! I'll give that some thought and try to put those goals in a post later this week.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Share a Square Part 2

I have to say that work is still kicking my butt, but I had yesterday off and I feel much better for it. (Unfortunately, I have to work today, but that's another story.) Our 2 full time employees are still out sick, but they are getting better. I took one of them to the hospital yesterday for her daily dose of IV antibiotics, and it felt good to do something for at least one of them (beyond covering for them at work). Of course, both employees are threatening to come back to work before they are really ready to, but hopefully their doctors will talk sense to them!

I am still working away at squares for Greensburg. Hopefully tomorrow I can tie in the loose ends and have a picture for to show on Monday. In the meantime, I got my 11 granny squares ready to send to Share a Square. I took one last picture of all of them together before I send them off:

I need a record of the color combinations, so I can make more of my favorites!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Share a Square

This is turning into quite a week at work. We have had 4 employees out sick, out of a staff of 20. Every day has been a scramble to rewrite the schedule to keep all the desks covered. I haven't heard from anyone today, so I am guessing that the 2 part timers who were out with colds are well and going to work this morning. However, that still leaves us down 2 full timers who are both extremely ill. One of them was admitted to the hospital yesterday, but we still don't know what's wrong with her. So please send some wellness vibes towards southwestern CT. We really don't need anyone else getting sick!

Apparently this Weight Watchers stuff is really working, though, because instead of eating out of stress, I have actually been walking on the treadmill! I have walked 3 times so far this week, and I really do feel better for it. (However, I am walking in the morning, so if I miss blogging a day here or there, it's because I am walking during my blogging time.) And of course I have my knitting and crocheting to take my mind of stress, as well. I made another afghan square last night that isn't quite ready for prime time. I'll post a picture once I get a few more made.

In the meantime, as of this morning, I have discovered another charity project looking for squares! (I really should visit the Granny Along site more often, instead of just reading my Google Reader - I would have found it sooner.) It's called "Share a Square", and the woman running it is looking for 6" traditional granny squares to be made into afghans for children attending a cancer camp. It just so happens that I already have 11 such squares made, so I will be sending them off to her as soon as I get a gift tag for each square. Then I'll start in on making more granny squares!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Squares for Greensburg

Yes, I'm still alive and back! I was busy enough this weekend that I forgot that the Crochet Carnival winners were being announced last Friday. I had submitted my post on why I crochet for charity, and it was included! I was very pleased to see that. And if you are visiting from over there, welcome! Please excuse my lack of posts lately. Life has been a little hectic.

Thanks to the motivation of a contest over at Crafting for a Cause, as well as the contest Criquette is having, I did manage to crochet 3 squares for Rebuilding Greensburg:

I love crocheting this square! 6 rounds gets me a perfect 8".

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Only a month to go...

...until the Knit and Crochet Show in Manchester, NH (aka Chain Link)! I'm not sure where the time goes. It seems like just yesterday that I got myself signed up, and now I should have my registration packet any day. And I guarantee that the next month will fly by, and I will be on my way to New Hampshire before I know it!

So I decided to take a look this morning to see how much homework I have to do before the show. Thankfully, it doesn't look too bad. I am taking an all day class on Friday on "knitting toe up socks on 1 circular needle". I need to bring 2 balls of DK weight yarn (from my stash, I'm sure), a circular needle and a crochet hook for picking up stitches. For homework, I need to knit a small swatch out of ww yarn in order to practice short rows. So that sounds reasonable.

On Saturday, I am taking 2 crochet classes. The first one is on foundation and linked stitches, and apparently it doesn't require any homework at all. The second class is on "easy, effective crochet edgings". My homework is to make a few 6" square pieces of either knitting or crochet that I can add edges to. Again, this is completely reasonable.

So I feel much relieved. I should be able to get ready for the conference in a mininal amount of time. I just need to decide what sort of notebook I want to put together to hold all of my swatches and any handouts I might pick up.

In case I don't get back to post until Monday, I want to wish everyone a great weekend and a Happy Father's Day on Sunday! We are going to take my FIL (and the moms too) out to dinner on Sunday, to a new restaurant that comes highly recommended. So it should be a nice weekend.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

No Crafting News Today

Well, summer seems to be starting a little early this year, at least at work. The library is getting busier, and staffing is getting tighter and tighter. Let me explain. June is the end of the fiscal year, and we all (part timers and full timers) get our vacation and sick time by the fiscal year. So the end of June is always fun, as everyone attempts to use up all their vacation time for the year. (We can't carry it over to the next year, so it is "use it or lose it".) Next week, one of our part timers is leaving to go home to Taiwan for the summer. Then, on top of all of this, we got the news late yesterday that one of our full timers is on bed rest for the next 2 weeks and won't be in to work. I'm really worried about her, actually. They seem to think that she might be leaking spinal fluid, which sounds very serious. We'll know more when the test results come in. But it also means that our schedule, which was already tight, is now just about impossible, just as school is about to let out and summer reading is about to begin.

Of course, the other reason there is no crafting news today is that yesterday was my 14th wedding anniversary, and I was a little busy last night! We went out to an Indian restaurant for dinner. This restaurant lacks a certain ambiance - the decor reminds me of "early motel room". But the food is superb! So we had a lovely evening. I am not one to gush, but I have to say that I am continuously amazed that not only do I still love my husband after all these years, I still like him as well. He is still the person I most want to spend time with.

There will be crafting news, again, but I'm just not sure when. I am working away on my watermelon squares, but that isn't going to make for a good blog post until the afghan is finished. I also want to get busy on some squares for Greensburg. So those are my goals for the week at least. And I am actually working 9-5 today, so I will be home tonight and I might get something done then. I will let you know how I do!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Perfect Summer Weekend

Yes, despite the weather (rather cloudy and dreary), this weekend turned into a nearly perfect summer weekend. I spent Saturday doing laundry and crocheting, and then we went to the Greek Festival for dinner. I was very good and did not overeat, but I did enjoy myself. We stayed and watched some of the dancing, but we still got home fairly early. Yesterday I spent the afternoon at crochet guild, and then after dinner we went to see "Ocean's 13". What a fun movie! I said to my dh afterwards, though, that you just have to go with the flow of the movie and not think too much about if the story makes sense. It all comes together in the end, and really, the point of the movie is the eye candy, not the story, anyway! So I had great fun this weekend.

I actually didn't have that much time for crafting, and most of the time I had I made pink squares:

I now have 9 pink squares made and the skein isn't finished yet! I think I will get 10 or possibly 11 out of the skein. 12 would have been nice, since then I wouldn't have needed to buy any more yarn, but I think I will need to buy one more skein of pink.

Whil I was at guild yesterday, I started another preemie blanket, also based on the "Babette" square:

It is nice - much more closed than a traditional granny square. I went up to an I hook to soften the stitches a little, and I have about 7.5" done so far.

And, finally, we made carnations at guild yesterday:

This is my first attempt, and it didn't quite come out like I wanted. But it is a quick project, so I will try again. I think it would make a really cute addition to a hat, maybe.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Watermelon Squares

I'm back from my crazy week! We had a lovely birthday celebration last night for my mom. We went to a surf and turf buffet and then back to the house for dessert. It took all day to get ready for it, but I think she enjoyed it! And I managed the buffet very well and didn't go too far off my diet. Which reminds me, I got very good news yesterday morning at my weigh in. I lost 2 lbs last week, bringing my total to 25 lbs lost! Of course, the challenges aren't over for the week, yet. Tonight we are attending our local Greek Festival, and there's nothing low calorie about that food! And Tuesday night is our 14th anniversary, so we are going out to dinner again. I have a feeling I won't be getting such good news next Friday, but we'll see. It's ok, though. It's all part of the journey.

As far as crafting goes, I had an idea for a new afghan square and I started working on it Wednesday morning at Borders. I now have 2 squares finished, and I am pleased as punch at how they are turning out. Obviously, this afghan is going to be called "The Watermelon Afghan":

I think the idea started with the pink yarn, aptly named "watermelon". I put it together with the green and white, and then decided to use the "Babette" square from last summer's IK Crochet magazine. All 3 colors are Caron Simply Soft Brites colors, and I am using an H hook. I only have 2 skeins of each color, so I am going to make as many pink squares as I can get out of one skein and then purchase enough to finish the afghan. The squares are 10", so 24 should get me an afghan 40"x60".

Hopefully next week will be closer to normal, and I will be able to post a little more frequently! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Hanging In!

This week really has gotten a little crazy! Normally, I get my mom's groceries on Tuesday night, but this week I needed to get them on Monday, so I got home late on Monday. Since my dh had a meeting last night (which is why he needed me home on time, so we could eat dinner together), I decided to go down to the mall and buy a birthday present for my mom. (I know, I should have made her something, but I just couldn't get my head around what to make. She lives in a small apartment in senior housing, so she doesn't have a lot of room. So I settled on a couple of nightgowns for her.) And now I work tonight until 8:00. So I am going to be very happy to stay home tomorrow night. Mom's birthday is Friday, so I am taking the day off to clean up the house, and then my dh and his parents and I are taking my mom out to dinner Friday night.

In the meantime, a family of squirrels have moved in under our roof, so I have to meet the pest control guy at noon today, right before I go to work. And over the past weekend, we finally decided to do something about shades for the skylights in our sunroom. So I have the guy coming to measure for those on Friday. Throw in "Coffee, Chat and Crochet" with my guild at Borders this morning, and I really don't have a lot of breathing room left this week!

This is all an explanation of why this is so far the only thing I have to show for myself this week - another square for Greensburg:

I tried using 2 different needle sizes, which really didn't make any difference. It is the same size as the first square I made. However, it still isn't truly square. I will send it off anyway, but I think I am going to give up knitting on the bias.

Well, I'm off to post this picture on Summer of Squares. We are up to 5 members over there, but remember - it's not too late to join! And think of the stash busting possibilities afghan squares offer!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Baby Socks

I just about have time for a quick post this morning. We had a nice, quiet weekend, but somehow there wasn't a lot of time for crafting. However, I did find time to make a pair of baby socks like I was threatening to a couple of weeks ago!

I used Lion Brand Wool, and I intend to donate these to Afghans for Afghans. I used this pattern, but I went down to size 5 needles. I think my gauge is spot on. The pattern presumes that you know what you are doing, so I ended up going back to my tried and true Yankee Knitter sock pattern that practically tells you when to breathe, the instructions are so thorough! I felt much more comfortable by the time I was making the second sock, although my Kitchener stitch still needs some work. So I definitely intend to make more of these, both for my own practice and for the babies in Afghanistan.