and the results are in…

wed mar 7-boys home, back to dr tonight for them.  more swatching for shawl, blanket yarn pic

Kept the boys home again today.  They only had low-grade fevers last night, and I was thinking that they might be able to go to school today.  It was Yannick’s morning to get up with the kids, and when I got up I asked how they were doing.  He said Henri was acting fine, but Jakob seemed sick.  I took their temperatures and Jakob had no fever any more, and Henri’s was low-grade again (99.8).  You just can’t tell from how they’re acting!  I was debating sending Jakob to school but really didn’t want to go out if I didn’t have to, and right as I was thinking about it he had a mini coughing fit and sneezed a few times, and I realized it wasn’t worth going out to bring him there.  Plus we still haven’t heard back from his strep test, even the 24 hour results aren’t in yet.

Because they still weren’t well, and it has been 3 days since Sunday when we saw the doctor last, I called up to book an appointment.  It was 8:30 when I called (they open the phone lines 30 min before they open for booking “emergency” visits) and they were already booking for 2pm!  The entire day had filled up already!  I really didn’t want to bring them in during nap time, so even though it would suck to go out at night if it got cold, I decided to wait and call back a bit later when they had gotten closer to 5pm.  Sure enough, about 45 minutes (and 3 call attempts) later, I was able to book a 5pm appointment, meaning I could let the kids nap until the usual 4:30 then get them ready and leave and be there just on time.

They played well in the morning, and ate well even though I gave them a light lunch.  At nap time Henri fell asleep right away, and Jakob was still up and playing when I went in around 3:00 to ask him to be quiet.  I was DEFINITELY thinking that Jakob was feeling much better, and be able to go back to school.  Around 4:00 Henri woke up and asked if he could go play with Jakob, I said sure ‘cus I knew Jakob would love a partner to play with.  Imagine my surprise when 2 minutes later Henri came back saying he couldn’t wake Jakob up!  Huh?  Wake him?  I went upstairs to check- and sure enough Jakob was SOUND asleep across his bed.  Oy.

Before heading out to the doctor I took their temperatures again just to be able to tell the doctor what was going on.  Jakob had no fever at all (97.2 by the time I took it out).  His only current symptoms were a bit-more-than-occasional cough, runny nose and sneezing.  Plus the unknown strep results.  Henri, on the other hand, had gone up to 102.2!  The poor kid- his voice was “off”, his nose was really runny but thick, and he had the occasional cough/sneeze.

While we waited for the doctor I asked the lab if they had Jakob’s results- no.  They said to check with the doctor’s receptionists, which I didn’t do because I’d be seeing the doctor herself in a minute or two.  She took a look at Jakob first and said that his symptoms (fever and red throat first, fading to cough/sneeze) seemed likely that he had a virus.  If the strep test were to turn out positive, then he probably just had a cold on top of the strep, but assuming it was negative, he had a virus and once he’s fever free (which he is) and back to himself (which he isn’t) then he can go back to school.  Henri also seemed to just have a virus, though because his fever has been since last Friday or Saturday night, if it continued a few more days we’d have to do an x-ray to make sure it wasn’t a light pneumonia (even though he wasn’t coughing much).  Just in case, though, she gave us a strep test requisition paper and rx for amoxil so that if Jakob’s test were to come back positive, we could get Henri checked too, and then fill the rx without having to come back in.  She didn’t have Jakob’s results so she told us to check with reception.

That’s when it almost got comical.  We go out to reception and they say they asked the lab for the results, but she was busy and couldn’t tell them right away.  I asked if I should wait because should it be positive we’d have to test Henri, but the lab had just closed so they couldn’t even test him anyways.  They said that they were open until 7:30, so if Jakob’s results did come in before they closed they’d call me, and if positive I could come back with Henri the next day to be tested.  So I get the kids ready to leave and RIGHT as we’re about to walk out they say they have the results!  Jakob’s 5 minute and 24 hr tests were both negative, but the 48 hour one was positive.

Huh?  Now that the kid has no fever and only a cough & sneeze as symptoms, which are NOT symptoms of strep, NOW he has strep?  Okay…  Well, can they test Henri, since we’re still here?  Nope, she tells me, ‘cus the lab really is closed.  But another lab nearby is still open.  It was 5:45pm, the kids hadn’t eaten supper yet, and I didn’t want to feed them before Henri was tested in case swallowing food would slough away any bacteria from the back of his throat.  If I’m paying for a strep test, I want them finding any and all available bacteria!!

The rest of the next hour and a half was a “hurry-up-and-wait” blur.  First we drove to the other lab, near the local hospital.  After a short wait Henri had his test done, then we had to wait 15 minutes for their quick-test results.  I tried bringing the kids to a cafe next door for a soup and cookie, something for a light supper, but they were closed.  The only thing open during the wait was a depaneur, so the best I could do to tide them over was get them each a drink (no sharing right now!) and a big cookie for the 3 of us to share.  The 15 minute test was negative, so now we’ve got to wait.  Since Jakob’s test was positive after the long growing span, I won’t know for sure until at least Friday if Henri has strep or not.  Which means we’re home for the rest of the week.

We couldn’t go home yet, though, because we still had to fill Jakob’s amoxil.  I know from past experience that it takes about 10-15 minutes to fill that rx because they make it only once the order comes in (I assume), but I really didn’t want to get the boys home 10 minutes before bedtime and THEN feed them.  So we hit up a McDonald’s drive through for some nuggets and fries, and I fed them while sitting in the waiting chairs at the pharmacy.  Not the best meal in the best place, but the best I could do at the time.  By the time the rx was filled and we got home, it was 10 minutes past their 7pm bedtime.  Oy.

I think the rush of activity wore them both out, because once they were in bed, neither one got up again.  They both passed right out.

If I get back to the crafting, which is why most of you are probably here, I did more planning of swatches in Excel.  I did work up a quick swatch to test out decrease angles for a little motif I’m hoping to include in the pattern, but since I’m hoping to publish this pattern, I can’t actually show any photos here.

Instead I’ll give you this photo:

I figured it would be a good idea to have a group pic of all the yarns used in my sparkly woven blanket before they were used up in the blanket.  Because I’m striping them randomly it’s not easy to tell from the project what the yarns that went into it looked like, so this will be my reminder.

I hope you’re all healthy!


getting my weave on

The boys were both home today.  We did the strep test, and the 5 minute one was negative.  They would now grow it for 24 hours, and if that was negative they’d grow it some more until it was 48 hours, and notify us if it ever turned positive.  Great.

I did some weaving in the afternoon while they napped.  The purple/green section is my 3rd shuttle, using yarns 5 and 6 together (a green-y blend and a purpley blend).  The stitch marker is just my marker for where I stopped counting picks (rows).  As I wind it up I’m keeping track of how many rows there are so I can make each of the 5 panels the exact same length.

I’m at about 47″, and I hope it will be about 80″.

Here’s a better look at my current manicure.  Jakob was surprised that while I was home sick I had bare nails, and asked me to paint them again.  I was in the mood for a chrome and couldn’t pick which one, so I used all 3.  Then I topped them with the black-dotted clear topcoat.  I considered them “Spring-y”, but someone said they look just like the foil-wrapped little chocolate Easter eggs, and I think they’re right!


woven spring scarf

Today was uneventful.  I didn’t get much weaving done, just a few rows while the kids played this morning.  I did some swatching for a new pattern, but it’s still in the early drafting stages, and I’m playing around with it in Excel until I get it right.

Since I’ve got nothing else to show you, here’s my aunt’s scarf all finished up.

I mailed it to her as a surprise, and she was supposed to receive it last Monday, which is why I haven’t been posting finished pics (even though I don’t think she knows about, or reads my blog).  I’ve come to find out that she’s out of town, and didn’t actually receive it yet.  Oh well- here it is.

It’s an infinity scarf with a twist, and can be worn straight or wrapped twice around the neck.

This shows the seam.  You can barely see it because it was done by machine, and it really doesn’t have much bulk at all.

It’s hard to photograph something with a twist- you don’t know how to lay it down!

This shows the crochet edging, and how tight the fabric ended up after it was washed and dried.

Today ended a bit depressingly.  I was starting to feel a bit better, and looking forwards to getting back to work next week.  Kind of my own Spring renewal.  And then…before bed I noticed the boys were acting a big sluggish.  I’d thought Henri felt a bit warm last night but since he was staying home today I didn’t take his temperature.  I took it tonight- 102.  😦  Then I took Jakob’s, because a sign that he’s sick is when he’s extremely cuddly and affectionate, and he’d been coming up to me and stroking my cheek before giving me a little kiss all afternoon- 100.8.  😦  Looks like I might not be back at work so soon…


missed meeting :(

There was an open house today for the local weaving guild and crocheters’ guild.  I had been planning all week to go, even though I would be going alone.  I was going to bring my loom, folded and tucked into my loom bag, and I was going to meet new people and maybe learn something.

That didn’t happen.  I spent all day on the couch.  Yannick took the boys to swimming so I didn’t have to get up and go, and I just vegged.  I felt so sick and knocked out.

I did get a bit of weaving done in the afternoon.  The boys napped and Yannick and I watched some tv, and I wove (weaved?)  Didn’t get much done, but at least it was something.

I’m now at 21″, and have finished my original 2 shuttles and started my new light and dark colors.  The “light” is an orangey-coral color, and the “dark” has some browns and creams.



Anyone catch the license plate of the truck that ran me over?  Oh my did I ever catch Henri’s cold.  I can’t quite decide if it’s strep, or bronchitis, or a sinus infection…all I know is that half of the day my ears tickle and throat hurts and I’ve got crazy headache/pressure, and the other half of the day is spent coughing my lungs out.  I haven’t coughed out the hernia(s) yet, but that can’t be far off.

Last night, no joke, I was in bed as soon as the boys were.  I’d already heated up a frozen onion soup (the ones from Costco are awesome) and as soon as the boys’ doors were closed I came to the kitchen, ate my soup, made a NeoCitran, drank it and climbed into bed.

I tried playing on my phone but couldn’t concentrate and was asleep sometime shortly before 8pm.  I know I woke at midnight when Yannick got home, and then was wide-awake and alert at 2am.  Coughing non-stop for 5 minutes will do that.  I finally had to get up and go get my big “armrest”-style pillow, put my pillow in front of it, and then put a neck roll pillow on top of that so I could sleep sitting up, because lying down was killing me.  I just couldn’t stop coughing.  Finally around 3:30 I fell asleep again.

This morning my headache is insane but the cough isn’t as bad because I’m upright.  I’m tired but don’t want to sleep any more and be up all night.  The boys just got into bed so my plan is to sit on the couch with this:

Hopefully I can finish one of these things before I finish the two others.

This pic is for Maaike, who’d asked me for a less “yellow from night time iPhone pic” photo of the weaving-in-progress.  I took this with the iPhone, but in natural sunlight.  Any better at seeing the colors?  You can see the 2 balls I’m currently striping on the edge of the photo in Wednesday’s post.


can’t let an empty loom go to waste

Tonight I had one goal in mind- start another weaving project!

I have had some sparkly yarn in my stash for a while.  If you look in my Rav stash, it’s the “Unknown” stuff that has 10 balls, 1 ea of 10 different colorways.  I’d received the yarn eons ago at a Montreal Knits meetup when Veronik and Mona were still working together and were destashing some leftovers.  I got this bag of 9 full wound cakes and 1 half ball, and it’s been marinating ever since.  Each of the full balls has between 113 and 124 yards, and the partial ball has about 49 yards.  The total yardage could have made a vest or scarf/hat set or something, but each ball is a different color and I’ve been stuck at what to do with it.  The colors all kind of go together, but they’re all different.  One ball has red/blue/gray, another has white/gray/brown, maybe another is coral/brown/gold…but because they all had the same thick/thin, glittery base, they all seemed similar.  They didn’t have any labels, and I”d emailed Mona with a photo but she wasn’t able to remember what it was, so Ravelry wasn’t any help.

It was only after getting my loom that I realized I could weave with the stuff.  I really love the look of rag rugs where you have a thin yarn for the warp and a thicker yarn/fabric for the weft, and I decided to use the yarn to weave panels that I’d seam and make a throw for our bedroom or den.  Luckily Yannick has been indulging my love of glitter via nail polish and had no problems with having a glittery throw in the house.

It took me a while of playing around in Excel to figure out how wide/long I could make the panels and be able to have equal lengths using up as much yarn as possible without wasting any.  I had the yardages from when I’d added the stuff into my Rav stash, and a quick wind around a ruler gave me an estimated 8 wraps/inch, so armed with that info and a handy-dandy spreadsheet from Maaike I kept playing around until ending up with somewhat  disappointing results.  With the amount of yarn I had I could only end up with a throw of 40″ by 60″.  My hubby is 6’2″, so this wouldn’t be a “snuggle under while watching tv” throw, but oh well, it would at least be pretty.

A positive that came out of the calculations was the freedom of realizing that I wouldn’t have to continue trying to figure out which ball to pair with which.  Because I had only 9 full balls, I couldn’t pair them up by 2s and have 5 panels.  I spent way too long figuring out the calculations with 4 panels, each having a matching border made up of the remaining 1.5 balls.  It was a headache because the blanket was getting longer and not any wider.  By deciding to make it 5 panels I let myself have the luxury of not needing to figure out which balls to pair up, and having exactly matching panels.  I’d just keep 2 shuttles going at all times, always having one wound from a darker ball, and one from a lighter, and stripe them in 1×1 rows.  I’d start with all the balls in one bag, grab a light and a dark to start, and after winding the shuttles, would put them in another bag.  I’d keep going as I ran out of yarn until the first bag was out of balls, then start over, always winding from random light and dark balls.

For the warp I used a cone of pure wool, roughly fingering weight, that I got at Collette’s when I bought the loom.  I made the warp 88″ to include a short (4″ each side) untwisted fringe, no swatching waste, and a little loom waste.  I was planning to weave 60″ on this, but as you’ll see in a minute, I got a bit of luck and think I’ll be able to weave 70″ on them and still have enough yarn.

At 10:09 I’d finished warping and sat down to weave.  This was after spending over an hour on the pre-calculations, putting the boys to bed, back to bed, back to bed and then getting them back into bed again.

At 11:07 I stopped to come up to bed.  I don’t have a lot of weaving done for an hour’s worth, but the reason for that is that I quickly noticed I wasn’t getting 8 picks/inch…I was getting 7.  That meant the same amount of yarn I had would get me further than I’d thought.

I left the loom to come back to the computer and ended up doing some rough calculations and deciding that I’d be able to have enough yarn to weave up to 70″ on each panel, plus make 2 of the 5 panels slightly wider.  (Instead of 72 warp strands there will be 76 or 78).  This would let me have the blanket come out wider and longer without having to undo and rewarp this panel.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that even though I’m weaving single rows in a lighter and darker colorway, looking at the loom itself you really can’t see/tell that it’s not all from the same ball of yarn.  This leaves me even more encouraged that the 5 different panels will blend well together in the end.

To join them I think I’m going to seam them in much the same way you seam garter stitch- mattress stitch going from bump to bump, but in this case going through even loops on each side.  I’m going to keep track of my rows so that each panel has the same number of rows so seaming will be easier and look better.


good neighbors

They say that fences make good neighbors…but in my case I really lucked out in the neighbor category.  Not only does Maaike live around the corner, but there are lots of awesome people on my street, especially C who helped me out not once, not twice, but three (!!) times today, even though we initially had to cancel our plans because she’s sick.

Her huge amount of (last minute) help meant that my secret project was able to be finished, as in all end woven in, finishing touches applied, and ready to be mailed.  I just need to finalize the written pattern first to make sure there are no measurements/etc to be taken, and it will be done!

The resulting unexpected free time (I’d only scheduled to be finished later in the week)  meant that I could finally finish up the project that has been on my loom since January.

It’s going to be a surprise present for my aunt, but I think it’s ok to talk about here ‘cus I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read/know about my blog.  I wove until it ws 60″ long.  There are only 59″ showing in the photo, but the point of the photo was to show the lack of too much loom waste.  My mom’s scarf was cut off the loom at the proper length, but I’d overestimated how much warp I’d need.  Here you can see that my warp is completely unwound with just the loops remaining on the back beam.  (Technical term?  Not sure).

A quick hemstitch was the only finishing done to the edges.  My aunt had commented on liking the “infinity”-style scarves she’d been seeing everywhere, the ones you can wear long as a scarf or wrapped twice around your neck as a cowl.  My plan had always been to join the two short ends after twisting the scarf once, but I hadn’t really thought through how the join would work.

I debated tying knots to join the two sides and having a short fringe running down, but quickly decided that would look kinda awful.  I consulted with Maaike and had decided to hem the two edges by hand and then join them, but at the last minute called up C and asked if she could sew them together for me with her machine (that was the 3rd help of the day) and she graciously obliged.

I’ll show the resulting seam after I soak and dry it later tonight.  For now I leave you with my easy answer on how to straighten the beginner weaver’s problem of uneven selvedges- single crochet!  Because the scarf had a twist in it, it effectively became a moebius….a word my spell check doesn’t seem to believe exists.  Anyhoo, that let me start at one point, single crochet in every 2nd hole at the edge, and end up exactly right back where I started from.  The sc edge done in the working yarn gave a cute rainbow look around the scarf, and ensured that no matter which end/edge is up, the edges will always look “finished”.

Now I’m going to let it soak in a Eucalan bath for an hour or so, towel out most of the water then pop it in the dryer to really soften & full the fabric.


i think i just blew my own mind

Before knitting, I was a crocheter.  Ok, that’s kinda untrue…I DID learn to knit as a kid, but stopped probably as suddenly as I started.  I’ve always been crafty, though, and can draw, paint, etch, sculpt, sew(-ish),etc…  When I was in high school I used to charge $5 to redraw a photograph onto 9×11 paper, in pencil.  Call me Kinkos.  I only took up the needles again once Yannick and I started dating.

Well the sweater I tried knitting for Yannick for our first dating anniversary didn’t get past 4″, probably because I’d found old needles at home, random acrylic from Wal-Mart, and a pattern from a book at the library, and none of the 3 had anything even remotely to do with each other.  I instead taught myself to crochet, and his gift sweater led to toys, shawls, home accessories and more.  I found my way back to knitting thanks to the fun fur trend of 2004, when I made a hostess gift for a friend and had to knit it because trying to crochet in fluffy black boa (feather) yarn was rediculous when you couldn’t see a single stitch.

But before getting my heart spiked on a knitting needle and fueling the last 8 years of my life, and after the months-long crochet obsession ending in 2 giant sampler blankets, there was cross stitch.  I won’t get into my eBay spending, my binders of print-outs, or the time I filled the cash register tape at 120 items and had to start a new transaction when buying one of every color of Anchor floss.  Here are some of my proudest xstitch items:

This was an ornament I made for an ornament exchange.  The original pattern had an American flag inside, but my swap partner lived in Australia so I charted my own flag for her.

This is a little (4″ square) pillow I made of our cat Sam, using X-Stitch photo software to convert the pic to a pattern.  The back was just lined with a piece of flannel cut off an old shirt.

This is a little piece I made for Robyn when she moved into her first place.  (Not my design, it was from a cross stitch magazine I used to subscribe to).

My mom’s name is Betti, and everyone always buys her Betty Boop stuff.  This is a vest I’d made her back when she was still teaching.  There’s a product called “waste canvas” that is disolvable in water, so you baste it onto your fabric/shirt/etc, do your cross stitch, then wet it and remove the strands of waste canvas, and your cross stitch remains on the fabric below.  Here I’d bought the zippered vest and used the photo software to convert a picture I’d found online.

I used a fun, football-jersey-style font to create the “letterman’s jacket” writing on the back, with more waste canvas.

That same year we were getting together with Yannick’s family for Easter, and I made the hourglass picture for his grandmother as a “thank-you” for hosting all of us.  The original pattern (from the same cross stitch magazine I’d subscribed to) said something in English, like “time with the family is time that counts”, so I translated it to French since Yannick’s family is French-Canadian.  I really enjoyed doing the beading in this piece.

Finally, my most “epic” cross stitch HAS to be this one.  My dad isn’t sentimental, but he loves his family, and I always liked this pic of him, my sister and me.  (My mom and two brothers were in another photo).  I used the photo software to create a pattern using only black, white and shades of gray, and enlarged it to 9×11.  I stitched it on black Aida and framed it with a plaque reading “Daddy’s Girls” and a copy of the original photo on the back.  I love that from far away it looks like a real photograph and you can’t even tell it’s stitched, but I don’t see myself recreating a project like this any time soon, ‘cus it took 192 hours of stitching!  (Luckily I was home on sick-leave at the time, but still…)

Why am I bringing this up now?  Well a few days ago I was watching weaving videos on YouTube and saving them in a playlist (yes, I AM that kind of nerd), and a lightbulb struck when I saw a woman making floats for decorative Christmas trees, and checking her “pattern” she’d drawn with Xs on graph paper.

That was when I realized that weaving, unlike most knitting, is square.  (Assuming you’re using the same weight yarn in warp and weft, and your tension is even).  Maybe I should rephrase to say “plain weave” is pretty darn square.  And I suddenly realized that all those cross stitch patterns snoring away in my office could be put to use if I wanted to practice using a pickup stick and weave with floats on top to “draw” designs.

But today it wasn’t a lightbulb that went off, it was a whole fireworks display.

I don’t need to weave the pictures- I can weave my fabric, a scarf, a shawl, placemats, etc…and then CROSS STITCH on it!  Using my patterns and my floss stash…after all Aida and linen that you buy for cross stitching is nothing more than woven fabric at a certain number of threads to the inch.

Whoa.  Mind-numbing expansion of cross-crafting possibilities here.