Gauge Evolution

As I’ve been knitting more and more, I’ve come to realize that I’m a very loose knitter. I usually have to go down 2-4 US size needles than patterns call for, and my stitches slip easily on my metal needles (sometimes too easily and the fall off). Compared to other knitters, a simple garter stitch fabric that I’ve made practically looks like lace.

It hasn’t always been this way though, and it wasn’t until just recently that I realized my gauge changed drastically when I had my stroke (Oct. 2013).

Here’s are a couple photos to demonstrate just how much my gauge has changed (using my Penrose afghan):

Now that I’m knitting more complex patterns, this is something I’ll need to take into account more and more. For example the shawl I’ve been working on for the past month or so, the lace will be VERY open. Check out how this is going on my Ravelry page, but stay tuned for the finished object (FO) soon!

 

Back in October, I was in a traffic accident as I was heading to work in the morning. It was on a minor highway (speed limit 80km/hr). I was going straight and a big F-150, coming the other way, turn left in front of me. I managed to veer out of the way slightly so that only our driver’s front corners hit. But, because the truck was much bigger than my little Toyota Matrix,  my car was deemed undrivable and was written off.


This was an unwelcome surprise, as we were hoping of keeping the Matrix for another 5-10 years. Instead, we had to purchase a vehicle (we are in a situation that we need two vehicles because of our work situations) within just a few days.

We decided since we were being forced into buying that we’d upgrade a bit and get a newer and bigger model. After some research, we test drove a couple small SUVs. We only tested the Honda CRV and the Ford Escape, because we knew the Toyota RAV-4 would be similar to the former (we were also really interested in the Hyundai Santa Fe, but they were either hard to find or out of our price range).

We both liked the Ford Escape better in terms of drivability and bang for the buck (we could get a much newer model with more options for less $$), and ended up buying a 2013 model with about 60K on it. Meet Eddie:


I drive it everyday, mostly highway driving, and I’ve been quite happy with it. It’s a nice, smooth drive, and I feel safe in it. The back seat is also roomy, which is important as the boys get older.

Some things I’m not keen on are a) the available storage is still not as much as the Matrix (the model we had allowed the front passenger seat to fold flat, so that gave a lot more room!), b) the bluetooth system isn’t super reliable, and c) there are things we’ve been finding after purchase that should have been fixed before we drove it off the lot….

…the first issue was right as we were driving off the lot. The salesperson told us they could only find 1 key fob  and they didn’t know the numerical code for the door. We asked him and the manager about covering the expense of both these things (we felt strongly they should have been included in the price of the car, even though we were buying used). It was going to cost us about $800 for both if we did it through the dealership. They refused to budge 😦 So, we found “a guy” to make us a new key fob for $150, and decided to forget about the door code.

Then, during a routine oil change yesterday,  the mechanic found a few things that had clearly NOT been done since the car was “born”. The air cabin filter was completely covered in black mold, the transmission fluid was black, and the fuel system had never been cleaned. So, now we’ll have to do this service in the near future.

Though I like the Ford Escape as a car so far, our experience with Ford sales and customer service was poor. I understand we need to expect certain things when buying a used car, but there should be a minimum level of service we should all get.

What have your experiences been when buying vehicles (new or used)? 

Making My Own Pendants

As I wrote last time, one of the birthday gifts I bought myself with my birthday money was a kit to make my own glass pendant necklaces. I promised to post when I was done, so here’s how it went!

I bought the kit from LilyDSCraftSupplies on Etsy and followed their online tutorial.

I first made a template using PowerPoint (I know, I know…I’m sure there are better programs, but this was easy) of the shapes of each pendant using the given measurements.

Then I chose my images and fit them into the templates and printed them on matte photo paper.

Their tutorial used the following steps:

  1. Seal the images with a micro-glaze (this took me a while to track down, and cost ~$15)
  2. Glue the glass carbochons on the images
  3. While waiting for this to dry, seal the pendant trays with their glue
  4. Cut the glass/image out
  5. File any jagged paper edges with a nail file
  6. Seal the backs of the images (now attached to the glass) with their glue
  7. Glue the glass/image inside the tray.

I ran into several problems with the method:  a) not using enough glue so the corners of the images would come away from the glass, b) moving the glass around too much when bonding to the image, causing some images to rip, and c) some images would start pulling away from the glass when I was cutting with an exacto knife.

So, after going through one of the sets of glass carbochons, I re-did two pendants as above and then went a different direction. Instead, I:

  1. Sealed the images after printing.
  2. Cut the images out.
  3. Sealed the pendant trays.
  4. Seal the back of the images.
  5. Glued the images into the trays.
  6. Glued the glass on top of the images.

I ended up with a range of success, which is probably par for the course on early attempts. Here are the finished products:

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Though they’re not perfect, most are pretty good (the rectangle and circle at the right are the worst end product and probably not wearable). Considering I was looking at these types of necklaces on Etsy for $15-30 a piece, I think this was worth the expense (about $40 total) and time (perhaps a couple hours total?).

One huge benefit of doing it myself is being able to choose the images, so I’d be happy to try these again in the future for myself or even as gifts for others.

38

It’s my 38th birthday today! A pretty meaningless number, really. The older I get the less meaning I attach to years anyway. Since being in my 30s I often have to think a while about my age if someone asks me.

No big, huge celebrations here. I always get some nice spending money from my parents and from DH’s parent as well. I bought 3 things this year:

  1. This awesome skirt from NerdAlertCreations on Etsy (check out her shop, seriously!):

2. A kit from LilyDsCraftSupplies on Etsy to make a bunch of pendent necklaces (I had my eye on a few on Etsy, but thought it might be fun to try to make my own – and much less expensive too!). I’ll be sure to post the finished products!

3. This London Fog wool winter coat (I realized last week that the one I have now is 10 years old and it shows. It’s white, and has not cleaned up well over the years):

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Tonight we’ll be having my favourite take-out food: Fish and Chips (yes, it’s so good that it’s capitalized). Then, tomorrow night, DH and I are going to a local hockey game.

First Socks

One of my goals for 2017 was to attend a knitting class to learn how to make socks, and I did it! It was a 3-part class, which I wrote about more here.

I finished them today, and here’s the final product:

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I really love knitting socks, and I think I might do another pair right off the bat next. Maybe yoga socks like these (source):

I’m signed up to do a shawl knit along in April. We’ll be working on the beautiful Waiting for Rain pattern (get here on Ravelry):

Laundry Room Upgrade

Over the holidays, we kind of randomly decided to upgrade our laundry room.

Before it was a basic basement room with cement floors and cinder block walls. It was a place to throw a bunch of our stuff and happened to have our washer and drier too. I don’t have pictures of it in this state, but I’m sure you can imagine.

DH cleared everything out and took down a small “bathroom”:

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The laundry room after DH cleaned it out. The line on the floor and wall to the left of the laundry machines is where a “bathroom” used to be. This was a cinder block room with a toilet and a pull-chain bare bulb. It was never used.

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All the cinder blocks from the bathroom. This is another large area in our basement, that DH is working on right now.

DH painted the walls (no use putting up drywall or ceiling at this point, because we often get water in our basement), put in a vinyl floor, and added some nice touches.We also purged a bunch of stuff and organized what was left. Here’s the end result:

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I’ll post photos of the other side of the basement when it’s done!

Valentine’s Protest

As with many elementary school classrooms, E’s requires students to either give valentines to everybody OR nobody.

The past two years, he’s given them to everybody, but never seemed to care too much about it.

This year, after I bought him some dollar store valentines, he said he’d rather not give them out. When DH asked him why, he said that there are a few kids who have been mean to him this year, and he doesn’t want to give them Valentines. So, he’d  rather just not give any given the choice.

I totally respect that, and am actually very impressed and proud of his decision.

I think the whole “you have to give Valentines to EVERYONE” rule is ridiculous and totally takes the meaning out of the tradition. Yes, I get that some kids would not get any, and that’s sad. So, since both these options suck, I wish the whole thing would just be abolished at this age.

6 year-olds don’t care about cards! Why not just have a Valentine’s party without the stupid cards and be done with it?

We got a message from C’s daycare about this topic. Since the kids don’t know how to write and no parent knows all the other kids, they suggest just sending in blank cards. WHY? Just GET RID OF THIS PART, for the love of God!

Based on this, you probably wouldn’t be surprised that DH and I basically ignore this holiday (unless me asking him to pick up 50% off chocolate the day after counts). His birthday is about a week after VD, and mine is in mid-March, so we’d much rather focus on celebrating those.

What do your kids end up doing for Valentine’s? 

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