lessons learned and a shawl update

I think my little “staycation” was successful. Here is a list of just *some* of the things I did:

  1. Received permission to stop wearing my knee brace. YEY!
  2. Made a trip to Ikea and purchased curtains for my little painting project. Then I subsequently ruined the curtains by washing and drying them, effectively shrinking them length-wise by 13 inches. These have now turned into my “test” curtains. When I finally figure out what I’m going to do and make sure that it will work, I’ll go back and purchase some more. Luckily the curtains were only $20 for 2.
  3. Made my first (and second and third) batch of panang. Yum!
  4. Took Bug out to lunch and to see a movie. We saw Mr. Peabody and Sherman. While I don’t think he understood all the “adult” humor, he totally enjoyed the movie, so I’ll call it a success.
  5. Watched Divergent with Kate. I think we both enjoyed the movie, even though I didn’t get home and to bed last night until 10:30. A very late night for me.
  6. Did a lot of knitting – including the picture below.
  7. Took a knitting class on how to do brioche knitting. Fairly easy technique once you understand it properly. Until you make a mistake and don’t know how to fix it. I’ll have to make a run up to the knitting store on Saturday. :-(
  8. Attended the Church of the Fluffy Pillow on Sunday and aside from the 2 phone calls Sunday morning, it was glorious.

Here is the update picture of the Follow Your Arrow shawl. I’ve begun the edging, which is knitted on sideways. This designer has totally blown my mind with techniques on this shawl, up to and including the spine stitch that looks like it is knitted one way but is actually knit sideways. Totally. Awesome. To get the full detail of this image, click on it to embiggen it.

Follow Your Arrow 2 - panoramic





I’ll post a picture of the brioche next week after I get my little mistake fixed. :-)


learning a new skill…or two

One of the things I love about knitting is that it is so varied. The techniques and patterns are endless and so are the things you can make – from hats to socks and everything wearable in between, to blankets and pillows and all things comforting and cozy to stuffed animals. Really – the list is quite possibly endless. So far in my 9 years of knitting, I’ve learned to make cables and lace – and that’s really about it. I have done 2 colorwork items, but I’ve discovered that they are not my favorite thing to do. Lace, though, I’m in love with lace.

You may be wondering where this is all going…well, I’ll tell you. I’m going to be taking a class next weekend on brioche knitting. Like I said in an earlier post – I’m not even sure I can describe it adequately, but it involves knitting with 2 strands at the same time – but it is not double knitting (double knitting is where you knit two layers at the same time) and it is not “colorwork” (where the colors are knitted to form a pattern of some sort). Brioche seems to be more of a ribbing style of knitting but with 2 strands. Here is an example:


Notice how the colors are different on each side? One side is mostly greens and the other is red/orange/yellow? Essentially it is ribbed striping.

Interesting, eh? I’ve been wanting to learn this for a while, so this is my birthday gift to myself. Now all I need to decide is who’s going to get the first brioche knitted item I make? Hm…


For the first time in my entire adult life, I will be ending my employer’s fiscal year with extra vacation days. Yes, that’s right – I will have 5 days to carry over into the next fiscal year. Which means that I will start the next fiscal year with a total of 27 vacation days to take. This is entirely unprecedented. And, I still have 2 whole days unaccounted for in this fiscal year – that I will need to take by the end of May…goodness, what will I ever do?

Next weekend, though, next weekend is totally accounted for – I’m having a nice “staycation”. I’m taking off Thursday – Monday (Apr 3-7), so a very nice 5 days off (including church, I won’t be going to my church on this weekend). Thursday I will have an ortho post-op check in with the doctor (13 weeks post-op) and a therapy appointment – but after those I plan on going to Ikea for a little curtain shopping.

Friday has no plans as of yet – though I’m sure that it will probably have some painting and/or sewing in store. Saturday is the YarnCon down in Chicago and after deliberating for, oh, about 5 seconds, I decided to go. I’ll be taking a knitting class in the afternoon on Brioche knitting – a technique that I’ve never tried before and can’t even begin to explain, so you’ll just have to wait for the pictures.

Sunday and Monday are both up in the air – but I will probably do some sewing and more painting.

A nice little springtime staycation!



catching up

No lovely pictures for you today. :-( I have been knitting, though, so I should have something to show you all soon!

I’ve been feeling a bit exhausted lately. I don’t know if there is something with the winter just taking f.o.r.e.v.e.r. to leave, or if there is something else going on. My doctor did increase my synthroid, so that should give me more energy, but it hasn’t. Plus, I’ve just not been motivated. I feel like such a bum. Maybe when I see my annual flowers start to poke through the ground I’ll be a bit more excited about getting things done. Maybe. Just maybe.

I still can’t drive – and I think this is part of the depression. Bad winter + knee injury + other health issues <> happy Tonja. But this, too, shall pass. I am confident of this.

So other than knitting on a few shawls and reading a strange book, I’ve not been doing much.

That’s my life.

It sucks.


Thanks for listening.

more snow and another shawl

Woke up this morning to more snow. Ugh. The brain just can’t really process this – I’m tired of snow.

So, in trying to keep with being positive, I decided to cast on for a new shawl yesterday. This will be another Follow Your Arrow, but I’ll choose a different path this time. The last FYA I made was a BABAA, this one is going to be an ABBAB – so the only clue that will be the same will be the 4th clue. Here’s a picture in progress:


The variegated yarn’s colorway is called Mesa – and it totally reminds me of Arizona. The driver that this one is intended for owns 3 horses and whenever I think of horses I think of the Wild West and whenever I think of the Wild West I think of Arizona and whenever I think of Arizona I see these colors. So I thought it would be perfect for her. :-)

I also ventured into beads last week. I ordered 2 colors – one is a frosted transparent white and the other is a frosted transparent grey. The intended shawl is baby blue and for some reason the grey looks really good, so those are the ones I’m going to go with. I even had to order a very small (very, very small) crochet hook to fit inside the beads – a very delicate little thing it is. Now I just need to get to the point where I can start adding them on…only 30 more rows to go…

So, Mom, I have a question for you. I posted a knitting pic on Facebook a few weeks ago and Sue commented on it -

facebook entry



You’ll have to tell me more about this.

fumbles and foibles

Has it really been more than two months since I’ve written here? Wow. Not to say that I’ve been totally slacking – I haven’t, really, but I’ve certainly had the time and have ignored the blog. But not any more! I have a lot of updating to do, so let’s get with it.

Personal Things

I slipped at work on December 23rd – and that has really been the biggest reason why I haven’t been writing. The damage is that I tore my quadriceps tendon, something that I don’t recommend you do. You can read more about it here, though I suspect that just knowing that the surgeon had to drill holes into my knee cap and basically sew the tendon to the knee cap so that scar tissue could form, thus reattaching the tendon to the knee cap will be enough for you. The end result will be that the thread or whatever they use to reattach things inside the body will be there permanently and my range of motion will be diminished slightly, but that I should be able to resume my rather sedentary life as normal. The downside is that, naturally, I had promised myself that I would make my life be less sedentary, so who knows how all this will shake down in the end. I am 7 weeks post-op today and have 1.5 therapy sessions under my belt, so things are progressing – albeit slowly.

Knitting Project #1 News:

I am currently working on another Sunset shawl, this time for myself. You can see the previous one on blocking wires here. I’m making mine in a deep red/green/umber colorway. The key thing to remember (for all you knitters out there) is that when you buy yarn for a project – BUY ALL OF IT AT ONCE! I purchased 2 skeins – completely forgetting that the pattern called for three – and then I decided to make the shawl a little larger than the pattern (which requires more yarn) I purchased 2 additional skeins. Well, I’m on the 4th skein now and, well, let’s just say that things aren’t going to work out. I now have 2 options. Either frog the whole thing or buy more yarn. The first option is too heartbreaking to contemplate, so we’ll ignore that one for now. The problem with the second option is the chance for the colorway to match the first two purchases is slim. (Please note however, that even though I did make 2 different purchases and received 2 different dye lots, I was *very* lucky in that they nearly matched. But the chances of that happening again are very, very slim.) So I sucked it up and made the purchase, because, like I said, option #1 is off the table, and, well, not a very close match was made. It may be workable – but it will take some finagling. And because I get, how shall we put this, exasperated with projects like this one, I’ve placed it in time out.

Here’s a picture of it anyway:


Moving on.

Knitting Project #2 News:

While Project #1 was on its way to time out (for an undisclosed period of time, I might add), I somehow stumbled upon a Mystery Shawl Knit-A-Long by Ysolda Teague, one of my favorite designers. She is one of those types of designers that can write a pattern and then tell out how to adjust it to your body shape. Amazing. Anyway, this MKAL (as they are known) is called Follow Your Arrow. The way the MKALs work is you receive parts of the pattern at certain intervals (in this case weekly) but you don’t know what the final product will look like until you’re done. The very interesting thing that Ysolda did was for each of the clues, there were 2 options you could choose, and each of the 2 options worked with whichever option you chose in the clue before and whichever option you chose for the clue after – making a total of 32 different possibilities. Wow. Does that take planning or what? I ended up with a BABAA – a shawl that was totally symmetrical. Here is the final product:


This was knit for a woman named Heather who has gone way out of her way to provide me with transportation during this “trying time”. She lives about 12 miles south of me and yet she will drive up and pick me up for church on Sunday – at 7 AM – drop me off and then go back home and then return to church for service at 10. Is that a special gift, of what? I am very thankful that she wants to do this – it sure beats taking the taxi, standing on the train platform, riding the train and then having to be picked up at the other end. Anyway, she is dear and I wanted to make something special for her.

Don’t worry – for all of you who are participating in the “let’s take Tonja somewhere today” round robin, your turn is coming. Just let me do this in my own way and in my own time because I want to. Okay?

On that note, I can’t show you project #3, but there is one in the works. :-)

So, that’s just about caught up with me. Sorry that it’s taken so long to get back to this, but when your life is turned upside down, well, everything gets turned around.