Black Friday 2008

The headline for a disturbing story:
Wal-Mart Worker Dies When Shoppers Break Down Doors

I have two words: handmade gifts.

Even more disturbing is the thoughts from an online knit/crochet community I frequent. The responses range in variety from outlaw sales to sue Wal-Mart. My question, what happened to personal responsibility. No one made those people line up outside the store, no one forced them to push others. If one doesn’t agree with the policies of a mega-chain, it’s simple, don’t shop there and tell all your friends why you won’t shop there, but don’t make more laws. Hold PEOPLE accountable for their actions. In hindsight, I’m sure Wal-Mart should have provided more security measures, however, I would venture to guess that the individual saddled with that responsibility would have been trampled as well. Three years ago a mom caused a stampede and injured several people in the Grand Rapids, MI area. I was in NY visiting family, but I remember hearing about it. It was a Wal-Mart I had visited and hated the set up for the entrance. The entrance was modified after the catastrophe. In looking for news stories about it, it was difficult to find news sources, mostly blogs linking to sites that have become nonexistent, so I chose to pdf the articles I found for preservation.



foxnews pdf of story

Happy Thanksgiving

While many recent events in the USA cause me great concern, I still have plenty of things for which I am thankful. I have wonderful a family, I have friends, my husband has a good job, I can afford to have three kitties and a doggie who help to pass the time, I have life and much more. I hope you have taken time some time this year to reflect on the people in your life for whom you are thankful.


When I was supposed to make a handmade gift for a very special lady. . .

I chose too big of a project. As explained in other posts, for Christmas, Jason’s family exchanges one name, we make or purchase a gift and may donate the balance of the budget to a charity of our choice. We drew names (were assigned names) in October of 2006 for Christmas 2006, which was eventually celebrated on New Year’s Eve. I searched and contemplated and hunted and stewed to find just the right gift for my person-Granny. There was not doubt in my mind that it would be handmade, I fancy myself a crafter. I don’t usually craft large gifts because of the time involved, but I found a wonderful cross stitch stocking that was solid stitching in a normal sized stocking shape. Granny likes cardinals, so I was on the look-out for birdies. While at a local chain craft store, I happened upon this stocking with a light gray-blue background fabric and two beautiful birds, one male & one female. It reminded me how unfair life seems for the girly birds, so plain. Since discovering a male and female cardinal at my own feeder this winter, I have changed my mind a bit. The female is absolutely gorgeous in her own interesting manner.

Of course I purchased the stocking kit, thinking it would involve a few hours of work, but it would stitch up in now time. The last major stitching project I did took me two years to finish, but I was a kid when I stitched it. I finished most of that project while working in an office at a family camp in northern NY. Needless to say, after putting several months of effort in, it was clear to me that I was not going to finish on time. I had already purchased several small trinkets and treats to put in the stocking and realized I was going to need a new thing to use instead. While visiting my family for Thanksgiving, my mother turned me on to loom knitting. She was hoping to craft with her granddaughter, my niece. After venturing to a local chain craft store the day after Thanksgiving, aka black Friday, we triumphantly returned to my parent’s house with yarn and looms. I was so intrigued by how fast we knit up hats, that I purchased a set of looms when I returned home. After conferring with Jason, I decided to purchase some thick acrylic yarn, I didn’t know if she was allergic to anything, safe than sorry side. I knit up a cute little hat and put all the trinkets, treats and treasures in the hat.

I brought the cross stitch to Family Christmas and showed it to Granny, nearly everyone else had seen me stitching. I put it away every time Granny was around, so that put a slight damper on pace. She graciously allowed me more time to finished and asked for me to make it into a wall hanging instead of a stocking, which was not a problem. I put it down for a few months, my arm was tired to stitching. When I was ready to pick it up again, Jason had proposed, I had a wedding to plan, I had been invited to visit MCF in Africa, and my world was spinning. I stitched occasionally, but not as often as I should have. I even took it to Africa in case I wanted to stitch on the plane or in my free time. I was too tired on most of the planes to do anything more than ready mindless books and sleep. Free time at MCF was spent doing other things, like playing with children, taking walks, and enjoying Africa.

It returned with me untouched, but I had renewed determination to fit it in around finalizing wedding details. My plans never seem to work out exactly the way I hope. I didn’t end up doing the big push to finish until Christmas this year. I told myself I had until New Year’s Eve to finish it, so I took it to NY and stitched in the car when I wasn’t driving. The steering wheel prohibited efficient stitching. I am happy to say that while I haven’t maintained proper verb tense while writing, the end is in sight. My new end date is tomorrow, GR Family Fun Day. I just may make it. The frame and hanger won’t be finished, but the bird stitching is finished, with only the made up border in my head to finish.

On the subject of the border, I am a Photoshop/Illustrator girl. Not because I love it or detest anything else, because it is what I learned. They are the tools I had at my disposal while working as a graphic editor. I have since switched to GIMP for Linux & Windows. The Gfig filter is giving me fits. How does this fit into Granny’s present you ask? Thank you for asking, let me tell you, I decided on a rectangle border around the edges, but since it is a stocking shape, I would have empty space in the top left and bottom right corners and what better to put there than a coolie swirl. I grabbed a compass, printed some cross stitch graph paper and drew and erased and drew and erased and drew and erased. Then I remembered that Jason was playing with a spiral tool on the computer the other week. I popped open GIMP and tried to add the spiral filter to my existing graph paper, no such luck. Because my brain is constantly troubleshooting and comparing, I decided to eliminate variables. The only was to get the spiral tool to work correctly was to draw it in the filter with the graph paper underneath, save it all, close it all, open a new, blank image, open the filter and magically, it appeared. I have stitched one of the spirals and am enthralled with it. I did have a little consultation with Jason, so I may owe him a fee or credit or something.

Stay tuned for pictures . . .

The Sock Saga Continues

Sunday, we had family Thanksgiving with Jason’s family, it was wonderful. Granny hosted Thanksgiving again, Mom made smashed potatoes, and my contribution was to eat too much. Since I’m on a deadline, I worked on the sock in spare moments when my help was not needed and I surmised that it wouldn’t be too rude. I was able to add a few rows, these socks will have quite a story. I added a few more rows on the way home and decided against my better judgment to leave a partial row on the needles. I attempted to tuck it carefully in my bag so I would not lose any precious stitches. Somewhere between the car and Daisy, though not her fault at all, my sock began to fall out of the bag. Luckily, the tension on the yarn caused it to dangle in mid-air rather than drag on the ground. Unluckily, the tension on the yarn caused 10 or so stitches to fall off the needles as it dangled. Fortunately, I had just finished reading a charming book with a rhyming title written by Debbie Stoller. I borrowed the book, entitled Stitch ‘N BWitch1, from the library. While the title suggests that the book may be a little over the top and I won’t be purchasing it for my grandmother, it is an extremely informative book. I knew the theory of picking up dropped stitches, but usually I avoid it by frogging2 enough rows to eliminate the problem, sometimes to the point of casting on again. However, after reading this book, I felt confident enough to attempt to fix 10 or so stitches, five of which only lost the row I had knit in the car. Two or three stitches slipped two rows and four or five stitches slipped several rows, including some purled stitches and one decrease. I have to say that I almost let one of the stitches unravel several rows to fix a previous mistake, but my brain was unable to process the command and shut down instead, so I proceeded to fix only the dropped stitches. After fixing it, I tried to knit two more rows, however, I didn’t look at the pattern. I had done enough rows that I felt I knew what to do. It turns out I did it correctly, but thought I had done it correctly, so made a few rows that are well, unique. I don’t think too many people will examine his socks closely. I am fixing part of the error on the current row and will learn from the mistakes made. Number one, finish a row and push the stitches back or cap the tips. Number two, keep better track of where the decrease belongs, even if you just dropped 10 or 12 stitches and had to perform minor surgery.

Julie suggested a fantastic title for the sock series, she is rather creative when it comes to writing. I, however, have since forgotten what it was and so will continue with my only slightly creative titles that pale in comparison.

Before beginning this sock, I would have said I was a descent knitter, with my knitting ability located somewhere between advanced beginner and intermediate level knitting. However, since tackling the task of sock making, I would reclassify myself currently as intermediate, but a beginner-beginner before the sock. Yes, yes, the scarves are pretty, but they are the same stitch over and over and over and over with really fancy looking yarns that cover a multitude of errors. My goal is to finish Jason’s socks as quickly as I can. I allowed the dropped stitches to scare me, well, scare is not correct, discourage is probably better. I was tired after picking up the stitches, so I put it up for the evening and didn’t touch it at all Monday until late in the evening. This is unfortunate for many reasons, not the least of which is that I STILL owe someone a present from last year’s family Christmas, I will soon owe this year’s person a gift and need to finish Jason’s socks first so that I can make some socks for me, but after I finish some Christmas gifts. If the pair for me goes well, I may want to try knitting socks for others, but it’s a safe bet I won’t cross-stitch for too many others, at least not projects that take over a year to complete. Oh, and there is the shawl for the wedding, but that was not my fault, the yarn didn’t come in until three weeks after the wedding. Maybe I will try to have that done by our first anniversary.

1. In an effort not to offend anyone and bypass any content filters in place, the name had been changed, but I know you are all smart enough to either a) figure it out based on the given clues or b) use to find a book by that author.

2. Knitters will ocassional rip out stitches to correct a mistake. Say “rip it” to yourself several times quickly.