Socks, Socks and More Socks!

Once again I’ve been neglecting my blog in favor of spending time with my kids during the summer and crafting.  Just yesterday I took the boys to the Auntie Shannon’s house and we went swimming in her condo’s pool.  It was a lot of fun.  We actually haven’t been swimming all summer and both boys really enjoyed it.  Even Bug taught himself to go underwater and Fidget was enjoying jumping in when he was wearing his floaties.  Everyone was thoroughly tuckered out, including me.  I could barely focus on our roleplaying game last night and didn’t even have the focus to work on the vanilla pattern sock I’m currently working on.

We’ve also been spending a lot of time at our local library.  Every summer they have the “Summer Reading Program.”  Kids are encouraged to read so many minutes a week and they earn little prizes for their success.  The culmination is an ice cream social with a magician.   This summer the kids made dream pillows (Bug’s was a mouse in space wearing a space helmet so he didn’t eat his cheese house), worry dolls (Bug’s was a ninja), wind chimes using clay pots, and they even tasted jelly beans to vote on the best tasting.  Bug read over 25 hours!  He’s still reading, too, even though the program ended.  He’s got a stack of books that he personally checked out on his own library card!

On the crafting front, I’ve been mostly working on socks.  Since my last craft post I’ve finished 6 more pairs of sock, a Bullseye stuffy and got most of the Spring Flowers blanket done.  Here are some pictures of my complete projects.

These are a pair of belated birthday socks to myself.  For my birthday I went to the awesome LYS, Trumpet Hill, and picked out some sock yarn.  When I was there I was introduced by the wonderful staff, to Opal’s Van Gogh Sock yarn.  The awesome yarn designers took the colors from some of Van Gogh’s famous paintings and turned them into yummy yarns!  Since it was late in the month, Trumpet Hill was running low on colorways, so I picked out a skein of In Variation Nach.  I asked if there was a colorway of Starry Night, since it is one of my favorite Van Gogh paintings (we have a print hanging in our living room) and there was, but they didn’t have it in stock.  Fast forward a couple weeks and I saw on Facebook they’d received a new shipment of the Van Gogh yarn and when I asked, they said they had Starry Night!  Squee!  I rushed over that evening to pick up a skein and also came home with a skein of Vase with Sunflowers, too!  Of course I cast on the first sock as soon as I got home!

Van Gogh's Starry Night Socks

Van Gogh’s Starry Night Socks

Barbara (Knittin and Kittens) and I did a KAL (Knit Along) for these interestingly designed socks called Carousel Socks.  We both stumbled over this pattern on Pinterest and decided to give it a try together.  I’m glad we did.  These socks had very interesting construction and we ran into the same issues together, which made getting through the project a little easier.  We’ve both decided that while it was nice to learn a new technique, we probably won’t be making these again any time soon.  They are comfy, though and I do wear mine regularly.

Carousel Socks

Carousel Socks

Upon finishing the Carousel Socks, Barbara and I decided to venture into the world of Sideways Socks.  This was another pattern that had a unique construction.  We made some major modifications to the pattern after reading notes from others on Ravelry.  I’m glad we did because otherwise our socks would have come out being knee highs!  We also modified the heel to do increases and then decreases around the other side and Kitchener the seam at the top rather than cutting the yarn and rejoining.  I think we’re both agreed again that while it was nice to learn something new, we won’t be making these again any time soon!  lol

Sideways Socks

Sideways Socks

I’ve also been getting ready for a craft fair in September.  I’ve got some baby blankets and some baby bibs done, but want to have some socks as well.  I pulled out some worsted weight (thick yarn) and made these Broken Rib socks.  They will make great boot socks for someone (with a size 9 foot) here in the great northeast during the cold winter!  They are very thick, cushy and warm!

Broken Rib Socks

Broken Rib Socks

Another pair of socks for the craft fair are these Pink Camouflage socks.  These are a size 9/10.  I kind of like this colorway for myself, but I’m going to save them for selling.

Pink Camo Socks

Pink Camo Socks

I’ve also started on another pair of striped socks for the craft fair.  I have a feeling these are going to be identically striped socks…fingers crossed, anyway.  It’s the same yarn and colorway I used for the Carousel socks.  It’s called Harlequin.  I really like this color and stripes, so I may have to pick up some more to make myself a pair.  I currently plan to make this pair of socks a size 7/8 so I can have a variety of sizes.

Harlequin Socks

Harlequin Socks

I also finished a pair of socks for Darling Hubby.  His “Whether He Wants Them or Not” Socks.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture.  He’s worn them and they are ok.  He said they were a bit slippery and I noticed that they stretched a bit more than I thought.  I think that’s the yarn I used, which is a bit of a heavier sock/fingering weight.  It’s a learning experience.

I also finished a Bullseye amigurumi for Fidget.  He’s on a Toy Story kick.  He loves anything and everything to do with Buzz and Woody.  He has a big stuffed Woody and Buzz, little mini ones and even a talking Woody.  The one thing he didn’t have was Bullseye.  I searched Ravelry high and low for a pattern that I could turn into Bullseye and the wonderful April Draven made one called “Brown Pony” that was exactly what I’d been searching for.  Apparently it had to be renamed because apparently someone was unhappy with it’s former name.    I actually managed to whip this little guy out in 24 hours!

Woody and Bullseye

Ride Like the Wind, Bullseye!

I’ve also been working on the Spring Flowers blanket.  It’s been tough working on it since it’s been so hot…I just don’t want to sit under a hot blanket on an 80* day.  I’m getting to the finish line, though.  I’ve gotten most of the border done and then I need to weave in all those ends…I’m kinda dreading that!  lol

So, that’s it for now.  Kind of a big ol’ Finished Object Friday post…

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WIP Wednesday – Sweaters!

I’ve been busy knitting lately.  I’ve got 2 projects currently on the needles and finished a 3rd (a hat) this past weekend for one of the ladies at my library knitting group.  I’ll try to remember to post about that on Friday (FO Friday.)
The first project I’ve been working on is my 2nd Hooded Cardigan in charcoal grey.  I’m approximately 95% done with it and just have to get through the sewing part…which is the part I hate the most!  Last night, at my weekly craft night, I finished seaming up the front button area and the corresponding pocket area and started stitching together the button holes.  I still have to finish the last 2 button holes, sew on the buttons and knit the pocket tops.  After that I’ve just got to weave in the loose ends and wash it and I can wear it.  🙂  Hopefully I’ll have it finished by this weekend.Here’s a picture of the almost finished product.

Charcoal Grey Hoodie (aka the Twilight hoodie!)

I also cast on another project on Monday since I was in the sewing stages of the cardigan and missed the knitting.  I decided that Fidget needed a wearable (aside from the hats that I’ve made him).  I was going through some of my friends projects on Ravelry and stumbled across the Coastal Stripes Pullover pattern.  It looked like a simple little sweater that I could use some of my leftover yarn from previous projects for.  I pulled out a couple skeins of black wool-ease leftover from my Tubey sweater and some half skeins of red and blue Plymouth Encore Worsted I had leftover from Bug’s Super Shirt.

Coastal Stripes Pullover

So far this little sweater has been super easy.  The first day I finished the back panel and the first 9 inches of the front.  I finished up the remainder of the front while Fidget napped and Bug and I watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone that we borrowed from the library.  We’ve been reading the Harry Potter series at bedtime and are now about halfway through the 3rd books.  Later, I finished one sleeve and cast on the 2nd one at Craft Night last night.  I’ve only got a couple more inches to go on the 2nd sleeve then I get to start sewing it together and finish the neckline.  I’ve done the sleeve edges in blue, but I think I’m going to do the neckline in the red.  I’m hoping that it turns out as cute as I’m picturing and I hope that Fidget will wear it and that it fits!

Making It Work

For Christmas I got an MP3 player from Darling Hubby.  It’s something that I’ve wanted for a while now and I’m really loving it.  It will help me get through the boring chores like folding laundry, dishes, sweeping/mopping, etc.  I don’t have a radio in every room and I usually do my cleaning while Fidget naps, so I tend to try to stay quiet.

So I have this tiny little MP3 player, cute purple and blue earbuds and Outlander the Musical to rock out to while I’m cleaning.  For those of you who enjoy Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, Outlander the Musical is a musical adaptation written to go along with the first book.   I love it, except for the woman they chose to do Jaimie’s sister Jenny’s voice…she sounds like an elderly Chinese woman, but I digress.  I can sing and dance around while cleaning and no one is the wiser.  🙂

Another perk of having a little MP3 player is that I can use it in my car.  The only down side is that it won’t work in my car…For some reason when I plug it into my USB port in my car I get nothing…I called the dealership and brought it in to be looked at.  They deterimed that the UBS/AUX port wasn’t sending signals to the stereo, so they ordered the part to replace it.  I had the new part installed yesterday and when I went out into the parking lot and tried it before I left, it still didn’t work, even though they assured me it did.  The tech ended up coming out and taking a look with me.  They only tried it with an auxilliary cable and his smart phone and not a USB cable.  I know my USB cable isn’t faulty since it works with my computer to both charge the player and transfer data.  After a few tries of him running back into the shop a couple times (which I felt bad about since it was like 20 degrees out and windy) for a couple USB cables he determined that it just wasn’t working.

He ended up taking it back into the shop and looking at it again in the warmth and decided that it’s possibly the radio not receiving the signals from the port.  He did tell me that this was an updated port since the original model that came with the car had a tendency to malfunction…Great!  Our next step is to order and install a whole new radio…Which means another trip and time spent waiting for that to be installed  (at least I was able to get 4 rows knitted on my Bella Sweater and read a little of A Breath of Snow and Ashes this time around.)  I’m hoping that this is the last time…It’s starting to seem silly to go through all the trouble just so I can have a little extra music, but it would be nice to be able to switch between all my music without having a ton of cd’s clogging up my glove box…

The car is 16 months old, so it should have worked from the get go, but I had no way of knowing since I never had reason to use it.  The only good thing is that it’s all still under warranty, so I don’t have to pay anything out of pocket…or you can believe that I’d just say forget it.  Hopefully this time we can make it work…fingers crossed for me.

One Proud Mama!

I went to Bug’s first 1st grade Parent Teacher Conference this morning and I couldn’t be prouder of my boy.  He’s doing fantastically!  Both his teachers just love having him in class (and they told me they weren’t just saying that!)  He makes them smile everyday and his excitement at learning  is contagious!

I already knew that Bug is a phenomenal reader, but Mrs. J confirmed that he’s reading well above the typical 1st grade level.  He’s actually reading at a 5th grade level (S on the Fountas & Pinnell Test)…and the only reason it’s not higher isn’t because he can’t sound out the words, it’s because he doesn’t understand the unspoken/inferred things and feelings between characters.  Our challenge is to find works that will hold his interest and are age appropriate.  Mrs. J gave me 2 huge lists of books to try to find something that takes him longer than 5 minutes to tear through (like the library book he brought home last week that was a level 2 early reader that he polished off in 4 minutes flat and correctly answered every question I asked.)

I did find several Beverly Cleary books on the list and we stopped at the library this afternoon and picked up Henry Huggins and Ribsy.  He was already eyeballing the other Henry books.  Hopefully those will be age appropriate for him and will hold his interest.  I also found some of my old non fiction books that I had when I was in college for elementary education and had to write lesson plans.  I found some books on the human body and several on mummies/pyramids.  He took right to the grossology book (of course!)

Over the summer I read a children’s version of Homer’s Odyssey written by Mary Pope Osborne (the author of the Magic Treehouse series) and last week, we started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and he seems to be really enjoying it.  I’ve been reading a chapter to him at bedtime and if I know there is a word he wouldn’t know I take the time to explain it to him and he’s been good about asking questions if there is something he doesn’t understand.  I actually really enjoy reading chapter books to him.  Picture books are great, but sometimes making him think about what we read the day before is better.

We’ve also noticed that his handwriting and word spacing has improved ten fold since the start of the year.  It’s so obvious in his personal journal entries he does each week.  Now if we could only get him to enjoy the drawing and coloring portion of the journaling we’d be golden…though he’s never been one to color or draw…it was always like pulling teeth to get him to draw pictures at home…even before he started school.

The only downside is that Mrs. J is concerned that he’s not going to show a lot of growth in the reading department.  There’s always room for improvement, but if he doesn’t at least show some growth by the end of the year, the district may complain to the teacher that he didn’t make some improvement.  They only look for improvement, not the fact that he’s reading at well above his grade level…  We are all going to continue to encourage him with his reading and find things that interest him to keep him going.  He’s such a smart cookie that I’d hate to see him plateau out.

He’s also doing really well in his math.  I love that Mrs. J doesn’t want the kids competing against one another.  I can remember when I was in 1st/2nd grade we had to tear through a page of math facts and see how many we could get correct in a minute.  I always felt bad if I didn’t score high.  Mrs. J plans to have the kids compete with themselves and challenge them to improve upon their prior day’s score.  She gave me a set of flash cards that I have to cut out and a chart for his MOOSE book (Management of Organizational Skills Everyday).  I’ll time him and keep track of how many facts he gets correct and chart it.  I’m sure we’ll see improvement.

Needless to say, I’m one very proud Mommy!  It’s great seeing Bug make such strides in his learning.