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Saturday, January 19, 2013

What's Your One Little Word for 2013?

Sometimes I can't stand the little twee things that become popular on the internets - but this "one little word" business I can handle. Last year it was "dignity". (I did my best with that word. Honestly I did.)
This year, in honour of my New Year's first activity  my word will be "volunteer". I'm hoping I'll do that word more justice than I did "dignity".
After a thrilling NYE falling asleep while watching Liz & Dick, (review: LiLo isn't as pretty as Elizabeth Taylor. Actor who played Dick had much better skin than the real thing.) I woke up bright and early New Year's Day.  Milo and I put on our uniforms and headed over to Woodingford Lodge for some visiting.
I volunteer one day a week. When you think about it, it's not that much time. I clock two hours with my grooming time and travel time. That puts me in the 100+ hours a year category: the volunteer elite.
(I'll pause now for the pats on the back and the "attagirl".)
It doesn't seem like that much work - KWIM? And I'm in the volunteer elite? Let me just repeat the old truism: if I can do it, anyone can!
I've done the traditional "pink lady" volunteering, starting with Tampa General Hospital in the mid-80's.The training was comprehensive and well-organized. I''ve used their standards of volunteer training as a bench mark in my volunteer life. I worked three hours a week in the ER. I was appreciated and treated well by all of the staff - and I got invited to some great after-hours parties. It was a great place for a single girl to do some community work - the men (attractive, well-educated) outnumbered the women. All you did was pick the age, the weight and size.
I volunteered later on as a "cuddler" in the NICU step-down unit at Shands Hospital. The training was sub-par and I had to fight sleep while cuddling the little nippers, but my volunteer experience fast-tracked me to a sweet part-time job in the hospital.
I'm happy to say that my training with the therapy dogs of SJA was just about as thorough as my TGH volunteer training. Support and training I think are the back-bone of a good volunteer experience.
You don't necessarily have to participate in an organized volunteer activity. I've thought about more volunteer activities for myself so I'll pass them off on as suggestions.
This is part of my stash. Modest in comparison to some, but enough to give Roger a facial tic.
For example - I was going to post about my latest knitting-related project: stash-busting.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

My Favorite Cowl Pattern

This is what most of my family/friends received this past Christmas. I've made about ten of them and everyone loves them. They're fun and quick to knit - it only takes one skein although the original instructions from Bernat say to use two - I haven't used more than one skein on any I've made.
The shaker rib takes a *teeny* bit of getting used to. I usually have to frog several times before I get my groove going - but since you only cast on two stitches at the beginning - who cares?
Bernat® Mosaic
(100 g/3.5 oz; 191 m/209 yds)
44315 (Ninja) 2 balls

Size 5.5 mm (U.S. 9) knitting needles or size needed to obtain gauge.

14 sts and 30 rows = 4 ins [10 cm] in Shaker Rib Pat.

Cast on 2 sts.
1st row: (RS). Inc 1 st in first st. K1.
2nd row: K3.
3rd row: Inc 1 st in first st. Inc 1 st in next st. K1.
4th row: K2. K1B. K2.
5th row: Inc 1 st in first st. Knit to last 2 sts. Inc 1 st in next st. K1.
6th row: K2. P1. K1B. P1. K2.
7th row: As 5th row.
8th row: K2. *K1B. P1. Rep from * to last 3 sts. K1B. K2.
9th row: As 5th row.
10th row: K2. P1. *K1B. P1. Rep from * to last 2 sts. K2.
Rep 7th to 10th rows until work measured along straight edge measures approx 12½ ins [32 cm] ending on 10th row.
1st row: (RS). Inc 1 st in first st. Knit to last 3 sts. P2tog. K1.
2nd row: K2. *K1B. P1. Rep from * to last 3 sts. K1B. K2.
3rd row: As 1st row.
4th row: K2. P1. *K1B. P1. Rep from * to last 2 sts. K2.
Rep last 4 rows until longest straight edge measured from corner cast on measures approx 28 ins [71 cm] ending on a 4th row.
1st row: (RS). K1. K2tog. Knit to last 3 sts. P2tog. K1.
2nd row: K2. *K1B. P1. Rep from * to last 3 sts. K1B. P1. K1.
3rd row: As 1st row.
4th row: K2. P1. *K1B. P1. Rep from * to last 2 sts. P1. K1.
Rep last 4 rows until 7 sts rem, ending on 4th row.
Next row: K1. K2tog. K1. P2tog. K1.
Next row: K2. K1B. P1. K1.
Next row: K1. Sl1. K2tog. psso. K1.
Next row: Sl1. K2tog. psso. Fasten off.
Sew center back seam.
Note : to make the edges of this item much more tidy, do the following:
at the beginning of every row, knit the first stitch through the back. At the end of every row, slip the last stitch purl-wise.
I'm not being sponsored - although you guys can chime in at any time! but please consider signing up at Bernat. They have tons of great patterns and lots of info.
Thanks for reading - and happy knitting!