Saturday

Weighed in at 150.6 this morning! I think my efforts at logging every single calorie I eat is beginning to work. :-)

I ran a few errands today. I needed to get size 5 circulars in a longer length, I only have a 16 ” one. That is okay for starting the Leaf Lace Shawl, but will get crowded when I get further into the project. By the way, this is what the shawl looks like now. Isn’t it a lovely color? I think it is called plum.

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I also need to get more row counters. With so many knitting projects going at once, I need more counters to keep my count on separate projects.

I stopped by first at Salvation Army to drop off the bag of give away clothes that I have been accumulating. While I was there it occurred to me to see if they had any yarn. I found a large plastic zippered bag crammed with yarn for only $10. I grabbed it, went up the counter to pay and was thrilled when the woman charged me only $5. She said that today they had a half off sale on everything. It made my day. The yarn is not high quality stuff. Mostly it is acrylic yarn of the kind sold in Joann’s and Walmart, but most of the colors are great and there is a lot of it. It will be nice to have more scrap yarn, possibly to make more afghans. I made a big addition to my stash at only pennies a skein, my bargain-shopping urges have been well rewarded today. :-)

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Next I stopped at Michaels but didn’t find either the needles or counters I wanted. I left the store and started wandering toward Ross which I haven’t been to in a while. But before I got there I decided to duck into a store I’ve never been in. It’s called G Stage and mostly sells clothes for young girls, which is why it never interested me. But I spotted some bright summer blouses in the window and decided to go in and check it out. Close up I didn’t like the blouses I saw in the window, but I found a great deal in fresh summer hued T-shirts. They were extremely inexpensive and the quality didn’t strike me as too bad. I loaded up. Powder wasn’t impressed, but aren’t they colorful?

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Leaf Lace Shawl and Yarn Delivery

I finally made a start on the Leaf Lace Shawl tonight. I’ve had the pattern from Fiber Trends and the yarn from Elann sitting around for many months now. I already made a practice shawl, so it was time to start on the real McCoy.

I’m using this chart reading tool that I bought at KnitPicks the other day.

It looks like the cover of a notebook, but it is really two metal pages covered in black jaquard fabric. It comes with 4 magnetic little bars that you can use to secure your chart to the cover boards. It has little straps with snaps that either keep it closed or set up like a little easel.

Here it is, being very helpful in marking my spot in the Leaf Lace Shawl chart.

Last Thursday I came home to find that another order from Elann Yarns had arrived.

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This is a selection of yarns I bought to make another afghan from one of my yarn books. The Elann online yarn store as a great source of good quality wool yarn at very reasonable prices.

Ebay Books

I devoted the morning to some house cleaning, washing clothes and organizing my art room. Once my drawing table was cleared off and cleaned up I did a little work on some of my colored pencil drawings. What I like to do when I have some time on the weekends is sit at my drawing table, surf on the computer, read bits here on there in my current reading books, make todo lists, and generally doodle and while away the time very pleasantly.

While I was whiling away today I was also keeping an eye on a couple of eBay auctions of Nancy Drew book lots. One lot was 14 books of 1960’s edition whose price was holding at about $25 dollars.

Another lot, also of 14 books from the same type of 1960 editions that I’m interested in, were going for about $18.

Of course on both of these you also had to consider the extra shipping and handling costs, which on one was about $18 and the other was unspecified. I was willing to make a bid on one or both of these lots if the price didn’t get out of control at closing. Unfortunately I realized that both auctions were scheduled to close just about the time we were supposed to be going out for dinner. I dawdled a bit so I would have at least a chance to make a bid and see the closing for one of them. So while getting dressed up for dinner I kept running back to the computer to try to put in a bid at the very last second.

I was thrilled to see that my bid for $36 won for the first lot. I swooped right in at the last second. It came in about .50 short of my bid limit. Combined with the shipping and handling price for this lot, each book will cost me about $3.90 which was just the range I wanted. The next lot didn’t close for another 20 minutes or so, and since I didn’t want Marty to faint from hunger ( I was pretty hungry myself) , I put in a bid and took off. I just crossed my fingers and hoped other interested buyers wouldn’t outbid me in the meantime.

To not make this too suspenseful, I did win the second auction for $37.09. The shipping and handling was eventually calculated at $9.59, so my total price was $46.60. Even better than the first one. I’m happy and vowing to stay away from eBay for awhile :-)

Diet Organizer and More Books

I had been toying with the idea of having another go at the Nutrisystem diet plan. I’ve been stuck at around 150 pounds. The good news is that I am down a little over 20 pounds from my highest weight a few years ago. I lost 10 of those pounds in the last six months helped along by Nutrisystem and the Gallbladder (I’m afraid to eat) diet. The extra 4 pounds I lost after Gallbladder surgery came right back as soon as I could eat again,drat it.

The bad news is that I’m still overweight and need to lose at least 20 more. I want to be in the normal BMI range. This is my ultimate goal. It sure sucks to be short sometimes. If I was a couple inches taller I would be at my perfect weight already. ;-)

Anyway, before shelling out another $340 for 5 weeks of yummy Nutrisystem meals. I decided to give calorie counting another try. I downloaded a software application called Diet Organizer to my Palm to help me keep track of my daily calorie intake. It’s a neat little program that not only helps you count calories but also:

 

  • tracks how the calories break down into their fat, carbohydrate, protein, vitamins and mineral portions
  • comes with a food database of 6000 foods and super-fast food selection.
  • does the calculations for you.
  • checks that you’re getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals.
  • helps you know at a glance how many calories you have left each day.
  • builds a history of what you eat and how much you exercise.
  • includes exercise in your daily calorie equation.
  • tracks body measurements and weight, and lets you see your progress in chart form.

It will be a really handy and portable way to log every calorie that I eat. My biggest problem when I’m not on a structured diet is to keep from casually overeating. This will help me be aware of the quantities I consume and to know when I have to stop. We shall see.

 

When I got home I found that I had received my set of the 75th Anniversary reproduction Nancy Drew books.

These are a reproduction edition of the first six volumes published in the 1930’s. They have the original illustrations and dust jacket designs which show Nancy sleuthing about in her very proper 1930’s outfits. I will probably buy more older edition books from eBay. I like the ones that came out in the 1960’s. I can get large lots of books at decent prices if I shop the auctions carefully and watch out for ones I like. Can’t wait!

Nancy Drew

The opening of the new Nancy Drew movie got me thinking about the Nancy Drew books I read as a child. I didn’t own many of the books from the Nancy Drew series, but I did have almost all the volumes from the Trixie Belden series. I was such a bookworm that I would have read anything that crossed my path, but these stories written for young girls were a special treat for me.

Thinking about my long lost copies of all those books made me very nostalgic. I decided to see if any of them were still being sold. I shouldn’t have worried. Amazon has new editions of the whole Nancy Drew series which consists of 56 books. Of course they look nothing like the old editions I remembered. I went looking on Ebay to see if some old books were available and discovered a thriving commerce in the business of buying and selling old and new Nancy Drew books. For now I’m just looking, but in the meanwhile I found this biographical work which I received today.

It chronicles how the Nancy Drew series of books were created and who the real authors were. It’s a regular detective story in itself.

Since 1930, millions of girls have spent countless hours buried in the Nancy Drew mysteries, accompanying their heroine to haunted mansions, spooky farms and foreboding caves in hopes of solving the latest mystery. Yet readers have been mostly clueless about the mystery lurking behind the stories: Who was Carolyn Keene, the author of the long-running series? In her new book, “Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her,” Melanie Rehak skillfully answers that question.

The book is meticulously researched and provides intimate details on how Nancy Drew grew from a fictional character to cultural icon. Along the way, both Harriet Adams and Mildred Wirt, the editor and original author, contributed to the great success of the series.

Another Book

The weather is getting warmer this week. I can tell when we get home after work because my first impulse is to open all the windows to get the air circulating in the hot house. Pretty soon we will start having to program the air conditioner to cool the house for us.

I got another book today! When I look back at my entries, it seems I get them very often. It’s true, but I don’t think I’m out of control, not yet at least. I love each and everyone of them. Well, maybe not the technical books, but all the others yes! Hopefully we won’t be driven out of house and home anytime soon by the ton of books both Marty and I keep accumulating. I think we still have plenty of room for them. If ever we run out of shelf space, we would just have to winnow out the old stuff to make room for the new. :-)

This is what I received.

It has some of the most gorgeous knitting designs I have ever seen. Maybe I just have a weakness for the exuberant use of color, but the knitted pieces in this book all seem amazingly beautiful to me.

Here are just some of the designs:

I want to make every single one of these. Of course first I have to learn how to do stranded knitting. I think my first project will have to be less challenging than any of these pieces, but that is where I am heading.

Talking about less challenging knitting projects, I started work on this little thing.

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It is going to be a potholder. I made a few changes to a pattern in Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitter Almanac that I got last week and started it in some orange cotton yarn I had in my stash. I like the patterns for dishcloths and potholders that I’ve seen in different books, but have always thought that they weren’t really very practical. I never use dishcloths and the potholders seemed too insubstantial. This pattern on the other hand calls for a knitted trim around a double knitted center body. I thought it would make a very usable and practical potholder, aside from being pretty and cheerful in the orange color.

So far it looks good. The double thickness in the worsted weight cotton yarn seems like it will provide plenty of insulation for handling hot pots and the like. If this works out, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for quick and fun little projects.

Weekend Organization

I spent the morning organizing my knitting boxes and planning my next little projects. I dug out the Cascade afghan to see what needs to be done and to refresh my memory on the pattern instructions. This is a crochet project and I had to remember what the crochet terms were for the stitches used.

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I’m not really sure why I stopped working on this one since it is more than halfway done. I think it’s because I’m running out of some of the colors and I wasn’t sure how to proceed. Should I buy more skein of the colors I need or just substitute other colors from my scrap yarn pile?

I”m tempted to buy more yarn in the right color, but that kind of defeats the purpose of calling this a scrap yarn afghan. You are supposed to use up all your scrap yarn making this thing. Oh well, I’ll decide when I really run out of yarn.

I organized my chairside knitting box. I tend to accumulate all sorts of things in here that don’t really belong. I also took out all my circular needles and inventoried them. I now know exactly what sizes and lengths I have.

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These two were my latest acquisitions. I ordered two extra long circular needles in sizes 8 and 4. They will make knitting my current sweater project a little easier.

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Later Marty caught a picture of me working on the afghan.

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Tuesday

I received these books in the mail today.

More knitting and art books. I guess it’s pretty easy to see what my interests are!

Sunday Sewing

I spent most of the afternoon and early evening working on this.

It is a laundry bag to store my hand wash clothes. I made it from a fabric I recycled from a former hamper. It used to look like this.

This is Marty’s hamper, I used to have one just like it but mine broke. I kept the heavy muslin material with the nice embroidered word knowing that I would find some good use for it.

Knitting Progress

I am done with the Congenial Afghan. I have just a few more ends to weave in and then I’ll be finished. It turned out very nicely. This is the first time I used a double strand and such large needles. It certainly makes a difference in how fast it can knit up. Since the yarn is acrylic I really don’t even have to block it. As soon as it’s completely finished I will add it to our collection of afghans draped over the quilt rack in the living room for use on a chilly night.

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I’m still working on the back piece of this little number.

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I will be working on this for a long while yet. The yarn is very fine and it takes a lot of knitting to progress a few inches. Still I look forward to working on it. Since the Congenial afghan is out of my hair I went looking to see which other of my ongoing projects I could resurrect and finish. I found this one.

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I started this top-down sweater sometime around February of last year. I remember I had a few problems trying to figure out how to increase stitches while doing a seed stitch pattern for the main body. When I couldn’t figure it out easily, I put it away. Now that I examine it , it doesn’t seem like such a hard problem. It took me a while to figure out where I was in the pattern ( I need to learn to keep notes when I knit), but I soon was knitting along happily on it.

I’ve already made a trial sweater out of this pattern a few years ago.

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It was the first sweater I ever knit. I wear it in the house once in a while when it gets chilly. It was a good learning experience but the finished product is kind of ugly because I used some cheap rather unattractive yarn. I started my new version in some nicer yarn. I added the solid color detailing at the neck, which will be at the cuffs also. And I’m using a seed stitch instead of a plain stockinette stitch on the main body. I love the bright colors in this yarn. I’m sure I will like the new one much better.