Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day-Trippin' in Georgia

During a severe attack of knit shop withdrawal, I convinced my daughter Amanda that we needed to locate a “real” knit shop in her area. The local Michael’s, Joann’s, and Hobby Lobby just weren’t enough. A web search pulled up only two within a 75 mile radius of Fort Benning. One, Darlene’s Knit Shop in Opelika, Alabama, was no longer open for business. The other was Two Sisters Knitting Nook in Newnan, Georgia.

We left the house after lunch so that both Evelyn and Liam would nap in the car. Strategic planning is not just a good habit, it’s sometimes necessary for mom-sanity!

Two Sisters is on the corner of a block in a cute little downtown area, surrounded by antique and gift shops and an art gallery. We were greeted with a friendly hello by two lovely women as we entered the shop with a double stroller. The shop was very spacious. Sometimes double-strollers and yarn shops don’t mix well, but in this case, it was fine. We felt very comfortable wandering around, enjoying all of the fabulous yarn. Many of the brands were ones that my local shop, Knit n Knibble in Tampa, Florida (Ravelry link: ) carries, but there (of course) were some I had not seen before. Many were wools; face it, you can have only so much 100% wool in Florida. They also had some cotton yarns that were new to me.

In addition to the wonderful yarn, they have a lovely selection of buttons, stitch markers, knitting jewelry and pins, t-shirts, handmade soap, sock blanks, needles galore, and bags and change purses made from recycled plastic bottles that were adorable! Definitely worth the trip! My granddaughter Evelyn fell in love with a “princess” learn-to-knit kit, which I had never seen before. I told her that it would be a great present when she gets a little older (she’s only 3).

Well ….I managed to walk out of there without adding too much to my stash. If it wasn’t for the upcoming “Stitches South 2010”, I’m sure I could have easily done more damage to my pocketbook! I bought a sock blank called “Happy Choices” in color 9 (shades of brown) by Plymouth Yarn Company, two flower buttons for a summer toddler top I am designing, two pattern booklets by Kertzer: SRK 424 and SRK 420 (see picture) , two change purses, and two wedges of an awesome handmade soap in pumpkin spice scent. I resisted the urge to purchase a needle-gauge pendant in purple, but it was very difficult!

Here is information on the shop ….stop in if you are ever near Newnan, Georgia ….it is definitely worth it!
Two Sisters Knitting Nook
15 Greenville Street
Newnan, Georgia
Phone:  770-683-3809
Ravelry Link:

Next, we walked around the block to the opposite corner, and visited “Scott’s Bookstore”. What a wonderful place! They have a huge selection of children’s books, and a little table with a couple of puzzles to entertain the little ones while the parents browse. Of course they also have the other usual sections, best sellers, fiction, educational, cookbooks, etc. Nice place, a great treat for Evelyn for being so good. Amanda surprised Evelyn with “Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar”, and Liam with a stuffed football (even though Liam cheated on the being good part …he slept or ate most of the time).

Here is information on the shop ….another great find!
Scott's Bookstore
28 South Court Square
Newnan, Georgia
Phone:  770-253-2960

No website that I could find, but here is the Yahoo Travel description:
Established in 1976, this full service bookstore offers all the books and tapes on Lewis Grizzard, a Coweta native son, plus offers an extensive children's section and numerous services.

Double Take!
As we were walking back to the car, we passed a store picture window that made us do a double-take! So of course we had to take a picture. Little town, almost at sunset ….the main street was starting to look deserted because it was after 5pm. Amanda whipped out her phone and snapped this shot ......
I was already picturing the headlines the next day ….

”Two Strange Women Capture Their Dastardly Deed on Newfangled Modern Phone”.

An arm, belonging to Newnan Town Founder Mr. , was found grasping the window display shelf of his beloved general store, established circa 1905. Although the women swore they were innocent, the double stroller and two children were not a solid alibi for the crime. Said women are currently serving an undetermined sentence in the local jailhouse.

We were in a small town in mid-western Georgia. Might as well be West Virginia ….if that had actually happened, we would never see the light of day again. I grew up in Miami, spent some time in Chicago and New York for business …..I’d rather be mugged in one of those places than get arrested for dropping a banana peel on the sidewalk in the Deep South!

‘Nuff said. Come on! It’s WAY past Halloween. What was up with that window?

We saw a gorgeous house as we were driving into Newnan. On the way out we decided to take a picture of it. Luckily there was a little traffic, and the hometown people were very polite. Amanda whipped out her phone again, and the “Strange Women” did their version of a drive-by shooting as they fled the town.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Year’s Resolutions and a New Mantra

This year I resolve to:
  1. Call my mother more often. 
  2. Knit at least one pair of infant or preemie socks a month to donate to the hospital. 
  3. Get out and walk more for my health. 
  4. Finish at least 2 UFOs (unfinished objects) for each new project I start.
***  Exceptions: designing, new classes, and new babies!

When our kids were still living at home, we had a family tradition of sitting down together on New Year’s Day and making our New Year’s Resolutions. Like most other people, we tried very hard to follow them during January, but by March, not so much.

It was a great idea, but unfortunately we always seemed to have very high hopes for ourselves …..many of the resolutions were rarely reasonable. Since the kids have grown and gone their separate ways, my husband Jim and I have not really kept up the tradition. I want to start it up again, at least for myself.

As the years pass, I continue to better understand my priorities, strengths, and shortcomings. I think my 2010 resolution list is one that I will be able to follow long past March. I won’t guarantee that I will be able to make it all the way to the end of December, but past March will be an improvement.

Baby steps. That’s the way to accomplish things. Biting off more that you can chew is a guaranteed path to failure. I wish I had taken that advice from my cheerleading coach in high school. It’s sad, but I don’t even remember her name, but I’ll never forget the conversation she had with me at the end of my Junior year. She told me that I needed to choose between cheerleading and dance/drama. Of course I knew everything then, after all, I was 17! I wasn’t about to let anyone tell me what I could and couldn’t do. No one was going to put limitations on me! Well, she tried. I didn’t make the Varsity Cheerleading Squad in my Senior year, even though I was Co-Captain of the JV Squad. Boy was I mad. I immediately tried out for the Marching Band’s dance team, and became a Rampage. And of course, I was still in the Drama Club, and taking dance lessons 3 nights a week.

So back to my resolutions. We’re only into the second week of January, and I have called my mother a couple of times, I have created a pattern for newborn socks in Sweater Wizard, and have leftover sock yarn ready. I have walked a couple of times, even though the weather is cold ………and, I’ve finished one FO! A sample blanket for an upcoming class I am going to teach at Knit n Knibble in Tampa, FL. It’s my daughter’s design, available on Ravelry …..The Sleepy Owl. 
This is the smallest version (mine)

And here is the largest – the original (Amanda’s):

And, since new babies don’t count when starting a new project ……socks for Liam using my leftover Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino from my Red Beret!

So, finally, 35 years after my conversation with the cheerleading coach, I’m much older, and a little wiser, and realize that no matter how much I want to accomplish before I die, it won’t all happen. Hence, my small, doable list of resolutions. Baby steps. That’s my new mantra.

Obviously Obsessed

I love knitting. I love the feel of the needles in my hands, and the repetition of making each stitch. I love playing with new yarns, and I look forward to working with old favorites. Starting a new project is always exciting.

The other day in my local yarn shop, an interesting question came up. Someone wanted to know how many started projects we each have. Well, I have at least 50. Yes, that was a five with a zero following it. A few monogamous knitters in our group were appalled, but to some of the other knitters in the group, that number didn’t sound unreasonable at all.

How can I possibly have so many projects started at one time? I enjoy making things for other people …….those are the projects that are most likely to be completed in a timely fashion (especially if they have a deadline like a birth, or a special occasion). And then, even though I know that my knitting time should be committed to other started projects, I cast on something for myself. Somehow those projects seem to always get placed on the back-burner when something else comes up. Add to that the at least 12 projects that are ones I use in the classes that I teach.

         50 – 12 = 38

See, it’s sounding a little better, right?

It was a sad day this past November when I had to go to the mall to buy myself a cardigan, because the knitter didn’t even have a sweater. After that shopping trip, I decided that 2010 would be the year of finishing knitting projects for me.

My latest FO (finished object) is a hat for myself out of Vogue Knitting, Fall 2009, called the “#11 Vine and Leaf Beret” by Angela Hahn. I decided to make it in red. I was so excited to be knitting for myself that it wasn’t until the 4th repeat of Chart 1 that I realized I was doing only K2tog (knit 2 stitches together) instead of both K2tog and SSK (slip, slip knit). I just didn’t have the heart to rip it all out, so my lace doesn’t show as much directional change as it should. I decided to continue to use only K2tog for the rest of Chart 1 and for Chart 2 as well. Since I was consistent, it’s not too bad … looks like it was intended to be that way. If you place it side by side with the picture of the original hat, you can see the difference, but on my head, it should be just fine.

At least it’s now an FO for ME!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Birth of a Grandson & Fuzzy Socks for His Big Sis!

My daughter Amanda is a stay-at-home mom with a 3-year old daughter named Evelyn, and is married to an Army guy currently deployed to Iraq. Her second baby (a boy) was due on January 12th. My plan was to drive to Georgia with my husband Jim on Monday, Dec. 21st (arriving in the evening) and I would stay with her until the end of January. My husband would of course have to leave after the holidays to return to work.

Since I am writing this blog on January 1st, you probably know where this is going. However, I bet there will be a surprise or two for you in the story.

The saga began on Saturday, December 19th, in Haines City, Florida. My husband and I were spending the evening at my in-laws house for an early Christmas dinner. Mid-way through dinner, we received a phone call from Amanda, indicating that her neighbor had taken her to the hospital because she had been sick all night, and she thought she was going into labor.

Jim made an airline reservation for me to fly out to Columbus, Georgia first thing the next morning. First thing. Really. I had to get up at 3:15 am in order to shower and get to the airport on time. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep at all that night, because there were a lot of things that we had planned to do on Sunday before leaving in the car on Monday morning.

They sent Amanda home from the hospital that night, because after giving her an IV, her contractions stopped. They attributed them to dehydration. So, Sunday around noon, she and Evelyn picked me up from the airport. We stopped on the way home to have lunch, and then decided to stop at the commissary for some groceries. It seemed that it was all a false alarm, but I was glad that I was there “just in case”.

That night, Amanda was up most of the night with back pain. I didn’t even realize that she was up; I slept like a baby myself after not having any sleep the night before. In the morning, she calmly said, “I think we need to go to the hospital now”. So, Amanda called her neighbor to watch Evelyn …..children are not allowed in the hospital because of the H1N1 virus, and I tried to act calm as we had to scrape ice off of the windshield of the car before we could drive to the hospital! Remember, I’m a Florida girl ….ice? What’s up with that?

Amanda insisted that I not drop her off at the door of the hospital; she felt we could park and walk in. It wasn’t an extremely long distance, but it was VERY cold, and, not having ever gone into labor myself (both my deliveries were scheduled c-sections), I really didn’t know what to expect, and since she had been through this before, I decided that she was the expert and my job at this point was to do whatever she wanted. So, we walked in. And then …….we walked, and walked, and walked some more! The maternity triage department was on the opposite side of the hospital, on the 4th floor! Amanda knew this, by the way. Remember, she had been there two days earlier. At this point, I was beginning to think I was in the presence of a super-being.

We get to triage, and they are exremely busy. Amanda is hooked up to a couple of monitors. The baby definitely didn’t like one of them, because he kept kicking it, and the “boom boom” sound echoed through the department at regular intervals. My husband the drummer wuld have been proud. Amanda, on the other hand, was not necessarily appreciating being treated like a bass drum.

After a while, we started to smell smoke. Yes, I said SMOKE. The gas-smelling kind. Then we started to hear bells ….you know, the kind you hear in a department store that usually mean they have spotted a shoplifter? The nurses were scampering around, and looked a tad too busy to answer questions like …”Should we be concerned about a fire or something?”

A little while later, the intercom came on with “Code Red in the kitchen”. I looked at Amanda, and said, “Code Red? That doesn’t sound good”. A few minutes later, the intercom came on again with “Code Red in the dining room”. At this point, I wanted a schematic of the hospital, but I doubted that any of the nurses would accommodate me; they looked entirely too busy.

During all of this, I called my husband, who was already on the road heading toward Columbus. He was pretty surprised when I told him that we were in the hospital, and that she was being admitted. He had pretty much decided that Saturday was a false alarm, and that he would probably not be with us when the baby decided to arrive. Now, however, it was a race against time …he wanted to make it to the hospital before the baby showed up.

Cutting out about 4 hours, where Amanda when to Labor and Delivery, and we both napped a while (epidurals are a wonderful thing) ….Jim showed up about an hour before Liam David Hatcher entered the world!

Back to the smoke …..after Liam was born, we found out that floors 1, 2, and 3 had been evacuated due to a fire in the cafeteria! (Remember, we were on the 4th floor.)


Best Christmas present ever!

So, as a result of this adventure, knitting was put on the back-burner for about a week. I can’t remember the last time I went a whole week without knitting! I needed a quick fix, so I decided to cast on a pair of socks for Evelyn; child’s size 8. I had some leftover yarn from designing my Garter Stitch Stocking Gift Card Holder (a free pattern on Ravelry); Regia Softy in color 425, a cream ……it was perfect for the project. I used Sock Wizard to create the pattern, and decided to make sport socks, because I was not sure how much yarn I had left in the skein.

I finished them in 3 or 4 days (with lots of time off to play with the grandkids)! I think she likes them, don’t you?

By the way, did I mention that Amanda knits too? Check out these cute pictures!